Connectivism, Networked Learning and Communities of Practice

Introduction

With the advancement of technology, previously prevalent learning theories of behaviorism, cognitivism, and constructivism need to be updated. Since the advancement of the Internet as a significant medium of access to information and communication, the practice of networked learning has tended on its use. The Centre for Studies in Advanced Learning Technology (CSALT), a research group at Lancaster University, UK, is one of the promoters of Networked Learning as a new learning theory. In 2004, George Siemens introduces an alternative learning theory known as ‘Connectivism’. Further in 2005, Siemens expands his theory and its close relation to networked learning. The two theories are aligned with Etienne Wenger’s approach of knowing and learning in the form Communities of practice. In this paper, I will concentrate on connectivism, networked learning, and communities of practice definitions, similarities and differences.

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ePortfolio: A Case of Multimedia Production Course

Introduction

Multimedia Production (MP) course is aimed to discuss and explore how new and emerging technologies can facilitate teaching both inside and outside the classroom. At the end of this course, students will built up the necessary conceptual and practical understanding and skills of the topics required to use, design and develop rich digital resources. Demonstration of competencies is achieved through a collection of electronic evidence (multimedia educational products) assembled and managed by students.

One of the tools that have the ability to display the advancement and development of students’ competencies/skills, individual and collaborative growth, achievement, and learning during the course is an electronic portfolio or ePortfolio. Developing an ePortfolio supports integration of technology into the overall curriculum to increase learning (Anderson, Krathwohl, & Bloom, 2001). An ePortfolio also employs 21st century skills such as learning and innovation skills of creativity, critical thinking, problem solving, communication, and collaboration. It also taps into necessary technological literacy skills such as information literacy, media, and technology artifact manipulation (Partnership for 21st Century Learning Skills, 2004).

Many instructors used blog as ePortfolio platform. This was also the case with MP course, but MP was not the only course that used blog as media to demonstrate students’ competencies. As the number of courses using blogs grows, students starting to have difficulties in managing and showcasing their evidence of learning. Then, there was a thought to utilize the current eLearning system (Moodle) to support ePortfolio. However, after having discussed this with an outcome based learning expert, it was decided that the Mahara ePortfolio system will be used. The flexibility of the display facilitated student involvement as students have ownership and control of their portfolios.

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