Tuesday, February 9, 2016
Siemens (2008) ties the growth of distance education to the increased use of conversational tools and the capacity to increase connections. He claims it is significant that now anyone can participate with anyone in conversations across boundaries that would have been impossible before the advent of the Internet.
This affects distance education by increasing the amount of global conversations and evaporating the barriers of distance and time. By increasing the comfort level of students in distance education, the interaction level between participants both inside and outside of courses increases.
Siemens (2004) has written about a learning theory that takes into account this ability of the present technology to disintegrate distance and time thus increasing the ability to have collaborative conversations in Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age.
Heather Kanuka states in Chapter 4 of Terry Anderson's book, "e-learning technologies can effectively respond to accelerating global competition, increase the quality of learning experiences, remove situational barriers, and be more cost effective" (2008, p.91). George Siemens, Stephen Downes, and Dave Cormier have collaborated using e-learning technologies that did all of those. Dave Cormier explains how in the following video.
Kratz (2011) says collaboration is important because it emphasizes skills, team-building, and creativity that will be necessary in any student's future. These skills in connecting, team-building, and creativity are alluded to in Dave Cormier's thoughts on rhizomatic learning expressed in COOLCast - w/ Dave Cormier on Rhizomatic Learning where he categorizes the connections made possible by digital tools and the Internet. Siemens asks, “Where is distance education heading as a field?” Extended rhizomatic learning is where I believe distance education is heading. We each build our learning by connecting conversations in and across networks. I invite George Siemens, Stephen Downes, Dave Cormier, and others to respond to this question.References
Anderson, T. (Ed.). (2008). The theory and practice of online learning (2nd ed.). Edmonton, AB: Athabasca University Press.
Kratz, H. (2011). The importance of collaboration in higher education. Retrieved from http://opensource.com/education/11/11/importance-collaboration-higher-education
Laureate Education, Inc. (2008). Principles of Distance Education. Baltimore: Author.
Siemens, G. (2004). Connectivism: A learning theory for the digital age. Retrieved from http://www.elearnspace.org/Articles/connectivism.htm
Posted by Lisa Durff at 1:00 AM