Connectivism, a learning theory for the digital age consists of three components: chaos theory, importance of networks, complexity and self-organization (Siemens, 2005, as cited in Davis, Edmunds, & Kelly-Bateman, 2008). In this posting I am reflecting on how connectivism’s network connections facilitate learning in my life.

Starting out as an adult learner in the early 1970s when the primary technologies in use were blackboards, chalk, paper exams, and number two pencils, the predominant way to learn was in a setting where teachers and professors lectured while students sat passively in chairs taking copious class notes. Almost 40 years later, I am fascinated by the many options people have for obtaining knowledge. There is no denying the impact the digital world, especially computers and the internet have had on learning.

To show the impact of networks on my learning, I constructed a mind map, identifying seven areas having a direct influence on my learning connections: academia, professional, informal learning, personal, spiritual, passions, and health and wellness. Almost every area of my mind map includes a reference to technology, most often in the form of computer and internet skills. It is important to note, without technology I would not be enrolled in an online graduate program for instructional design or have a job in the training and development field. Also, without the opportunity to learn new skills through internet websites, I would not have the opportunity to use the same computer skills across a continuum of professional and personal events and activities. Computer applications and internet websites continue to be the digital tools I use on a daily basis to facilitate my learning.

Using computers and internet websites often produce questions which need to be answered. When questions arise, the first level of help I seek is the “Help” section of the computer application being used. When my questions remain un-answered, I use a search engine on the internet to find the answers to my questions or to point me towards a website with the answers. My personal learning network as presented in my mind map supports the central tenets of connectivism including the connection of information sources, nurturing and maintaining connections to facilitate continual learning, and the ability to see connections between fields, ideas, and concepts (Davis, Edmunds, & Kelly-Bateman, 2008).

Connectivism Penny’s Learning Connections


Davis, C. , Edmunds, E., & Kelly-Bateman, V. (2008). Connectivism. In M. Orey (Ed.), Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved from


One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Laurie on April 2, 2012 at 3:31 pm

    Excellently written! Sounds like the moto we came up with in our business classes: “The HELP that holds the answer to your question is usually laying outside the box”.


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