Friday, January 21, 2011

Connectivism and Instructional Design: Paddling Against the Current

Our first week of CCK11 has introduced Connectivism and the idea that the content of the curriculum can't  be defined in advance. As an instructional designer, I am challenged by that assertion.

My current conception of ID is that we continue to define and develop content, concepts and learning activities in containers variously called modules, courses or training events with more or less distinct boundaries and with varying degrees of specificity. What has changed is that content has become "commoditized." Instruction, particularly the design of the learning activities, is the value-add in the online learning environment.

I'm still pondering what the role of ID is in a connectivist learning environment; or even the role of teacher/instructor.

As an aside, but something that seems relevant at least to me, is this article from the Guardian online - National curriculum review puts emphasis on facts.

As practitioners on the educational front lines, we seem to be always trying to reconcile the competing agendas of various stakeholders. Connectivism seems a vision for the future in a world where everyone has the option of being connected (and wants to be connected).

Locally, a parents group calling themselves "Citizens for Safe Technology" is lobbying to have WiFi networks removed from the schools as a health issue. The current reality is indeed one of enormous complexity!

1 comment:

AK said...

I think that content can be defined in advance, at least for certain topics. If you are looking at Chemistry 101, Physics 101, Introductory Algebra (and so on) you can define the curriculum, your materials, methods of evaluation and your approximate game plan. You have a start, and end, and some points in the middle. You may opt to connect them all with a straight line, or a squiggly line. The squiggly line, in my mind, demonstrates, connectivism. You get to your goal, but it's not (completely) preplanned.

As a human, learning what you need to know for life, sure, you may not have a preplanned curriculum, but as someone in an educational environment, there can, and there should be some plan. It shouldn't have a chokehold over your class, since learners after all are unique, but there should be a plan of what students should be able to do on their own once they walk out of your classroom.

Post a Comment