3.2 Networked Learning

Brennan’s (2013) discussion of Bandura’s self-efficacy idea, reminds me of the story of Seabiscuit. As such, scaffolding for students develops their confidence and sets them up for success. Furthermore, I agree with Brennan’s (2013) thought about connectivism and MOOCS, when “we treat experts like novices, we bore and lose them. If we treat novices like experts we depress and lose them.” Educators must optimize engagement and success by creating relevant and engaging work for all learners.

With this said, I do like Downes’ (2013) idea that “if you hide the expert performance entirely, you never see the point of the exercise in the first place. You have to show the whole spectrum, from novice performance, to expert performance.” Students need something to aim for, they should be aware of what mastery can look like, so long as it isn’t detrimental to their progress. However, it is through the non-connective scaffolding that they will get there.

A flaw in Downes’ (2013) point of view is, “if people come to depend in general on educators, and only educators, for reassurance and encouragement, then they will be sorely unprepared for life.” I don’t believe this happens, students rely on many people for support and reassurance, not just teachers (parents, family, friends, coaches, etc.). Furthermore, it is unrealistic to presume that students should stop being novices by their tenth birthday, rarely are students experts by the fifth grade.

“Good mastery experiences, for novices, are characterized by corrective feedback, achievability, and a cognitive load that presents both a degree of challenge, but also leaves enough space for complex learning. They don’t bore, they engage” (Brennan, 2013). These are the challenges I see in my teaching presented by connectivism. I see a lot of this in my own teaching when it comes to creating Learning Support Plans for specialized learners. Teachers must adapt or modify assignments so that students feel a certain level of success and mastery. Although the mastery is not always achieved due to a lack of effort, or a behaviour issue, the goal is to make it achievable. Educators must manage the cognitive load of individual students and continually re-asses strategies to fulfill learning needs so as not to risk losing the novices. Possibilities I see presented by connectivism are for the gifted learners, or the experts as described by Brennan (2013). In a connective educational environment, experts have a greater platform to run with their ideas and truly explore learning. The height gifted students could reach through digital literacy in a networked learning environment could be amazing.


Brennan, K. (2013). In Connectivism, No One Can Hear You Scream: A guide to understanding the MOOC novice. Hybrid Pedagogy. 24 July 2013. http://www.hybridpedagogy.com/Journal/in-connectivism-no-one-can-hear-you-scream-a-guide-to-understanding-the-mooc-novice/

Downes, S. (2013). Connectivism and the Primal Scream. Half an Hour. 25 July 2013. http://halfanhour.blogspot.ca/2013/07/connectvism-and-primal-scream.html



One thought on “3.2 Networked Learning”

  1. Hi Melanie,

    I think you make some good points about the relative utility of connectivity learning at the younger ages. I do think that even younger school aged children can develop their own self directed learning skills if properly motivated and provided an example. My daughter is good at researching topics of interest on her own but my younger son won’t engage in a search without some direction and support.

    I find the same divide in undergrads with many first years unable to develop a research strategy.


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