Principles of Connectivism and the PLN

Amidst attempting to work up some “headspace” momentum for writing my NLS5 paper, I thought I’d write my fortnightly post for the project….

During my literature review for the paper, I drew yet another link between the theory of Connectivism and the PLN concept. The “Principles of Connectivism” by George Siemens can be applied to the PLN context, in order to understand the purpose, characteristics and success factors of building and participating in a PLN. The eight principles (as stated in “Connectivism: a Learning theory for the Digital Age”) are: –

  • Learning and knowledge rests in diversity of opinions.
  • Learning is a process of connecting specialised nodes or information sources.
  • Learning may reside in non-human appliances.
  • Capacity to know more is more critical than what is currently known.
  • Nurturing and maintaining connections is needed to facilitate continual learning.
  • Ability to see connections between fields, ideas and concepts is a core skill.
  • Currency (accurate, up-to-date knowledge) is the intent of all connectivist learning activities.
  • Decision making is itself a learning process. Choosing what to learn and the meaning of incoming information is seen through the lens of a shifting reality. While there is a right answer now, does not mean it will be right tomorrow, due to the constant shifting in the information climate.

For a PLN to be successful – to thrive and for its collective knowledge to evolve – there needs to be a diverse set of people connected to the network. In the LIS community, this would involve cracking the echo chamber and include people who may not work in a traditional library per se, but who work in different sectors, information environments, and also those who work in varying degrees of information professional roles such as information/enterprise architects, educators, information technology and business management. What I would recommend to those contemplating establishing a PLN, new information professionals like me, is that it’s ok to select people outside of ‘library world’ to follow, to support learning goals and interests. Diversity strengthens a network’s ability to create meaningful connections between information resources and ideas by bringing together varying opinions and understanding. The key is have an open mind.

In the current “digital age”, it is becoming increasingly important to develop the ability to know where to find information, rather than know the information itself. This is due to the ever-changing and evolving information climate, in that connections are being formed every day, every minute. I believe this is where librarians and information professionals are ahead, we are already “connectivist” minded. Librarians and information professionals’ skills, are indeed, more valuable than ever in the current information landscape. It is then inherently clear that the need to continually fine tune information skills, strengthening our “connectivist” ability, is a key driver to establish and participate in a PLN.

PLN Participation Update

# of Tweets for fortnight     94

# of Followers gained     5

# of Mentions     71

# of People I started following     10

Total # of Blogs/Feeds     54 (down 2 from last fortnight)

Top 5 Blogs/Feeds I’ve found to be good reads recently

  1. Librarian by Day
  2. iLibrarian
  3. Alexandra Samuel
  4. Annoyed Librarian
  5. David Lee King
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