Mon 15th February 2010 - 23:00

ConnectLearning – an answer for the new challenges?

The latest reports seem to announce a new world of learning, in which students are connected through technology and internet. The increasing influence of the world wide web has led to fast-paced knowledge cycles and to New Millennium Learners, who are supposed to have different learning styles. However, in this article we don’t approach today’s youth as some kind of alien who learn in a totally different mode: they just incorporate new ways to access information and to socialize, and hence to the learning process.

While we agree that learning scenarios are changing their form and inner organisation through technologies, it is questionable if a new concept of learning is emerging. This article is thus an attempt to analyse whether the undoubtedly new social challenges are stimulating the demand for a new form of learning and if the existing theories are still applicable to today’s learning realities. Therefore, we overview social changes, analyse the concept of eLearning 2.0 and outline how existing theoretical approaches capture the reality of learning. A special emphasis has been put on analysing the nature of new scenarios, such as a special type of networked learning (ConnectLearning), based on Connectivism and Constructivism and situated learning approaches.

We conclude that change has to take place in the learning scenarios, as the required theoretical foundation has been in place and under discussion for the last two decades. Networked learning is not about a new paradigm or a fundamentally new model of learning, it rather describes how a consolidated concept (based on innovative ideas and building blocks of existing learning theories) can help to satisfy the demand for “new” learning scenarios which are self-organised, learner-oriented, situational, emotional, social and communicative.

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