My Mind Map represents the networks that I use for learning. Click the image to enlarge it.
The learning networks that are available in today’s digital age are far-reaching, providing the learner with a multitude of learning options. This array of learning options has facilitated the adult learner’s ability to immediately apply the knowledge to a present need which is a fundamental objective for the adult learner.
My vast learning network has changed the way in which I learn because it opens up many opportunities for learning and quite often decreases the search time for information, while providing me with an abundance of information to choose from. When I was growing up my learning networks included the school or public libraries, encyclopedias, dictionaries and our educators. At the time it seemed adequate. However, today our knowledge acquisition has been greatly diversified with the advent of the Internet and the digital age. I always chuckle when I am faced with a learning challenge or just want more information on a subject; I can either Goggle it or visit YouTube for a video or audio presentation on the desired subject. I am delighted at how easy it is to obtain information within a matter of seconds. There are no excuses today for knowledge deficiency unless the Internet and digital resources are not available to the learner. Google, professional blogs and YouTube are clearly my primary resources in my personal learning network (PLN) of choice today to support my learning.
I utilize the technical and professional user forums, support centers and knowledge base articles to ask questions and get answers. I have found these forums to be very helpful in providing a quick response. The technical responders are generally very knowledgeable and eager to help me get resolution to my issue. I recently used TechSmith’s support when I had a problem performing a task in Camtasia and SnagIt. The support staff responded via chat in a timely manner and was able to provide me with an answer to my question. I am very fond of the timely and knowledgeable customer support. I have also used Adobe’s RoboHelp user forum for support in meeting a challenge I had using the tool. For this challenge I needed to send the forum support person a file that I was using via Dropbox. Dropbox served as a cloud network for file sharing. By sending my files to the forum support staff he was able to view and analyze my problem and then provide a viable solution, once again in a timely manner. I am very impressed with the support I receive from the technical support forums because quite often the forum respondents are not paid to provide their support. They are generally technical geeks who are eager to share their knowledge and support. I also believe that they enjoy the challenge of solving the technical problems of others.
The Education 2020 wiki site states that George Siemens and Stephen Downes promote the learning theory Connectivism (http://education-2020.wikispaces.com/Connectivism). They believe that learning occurs through connections within networks. This model uses the concept of a network with nodes and connections to define learning. Learners recognize and interpret patterns and are influenced by the diversity of networks, strength of ties and their context. Transfer occurs by connecting to and adding nodes and growing personal networks (http://education-2020.wikispaces.com/Connectivism). My personal learning network today is multi-dimensional with complex networks that employ social principles of learning in an environment with an abundance of information. The social learning structure is dynamic and continues to be reformed with each interaction in the network. I believe that my social learning networks are congruent with the central components of connectivism. It is my responsibility as the learner to stay active, be self-directed and have the ability to adapt to shifts in my PLN. In the video Connectivism – Open Social Learning with George Siemens he provides insight on the importance of connections in the social learning environment. See video below.
Connectivism – Open Social Learning
Stephen Downes created a presentation on Connectivism and Personal Learning (see below).
Education 2020. (2015). Connectivism. Retrieved February 7, 2015 from http://education-2020.wikispaces.com/Connectivism