What should be a simple process is actually quite difficult. Creating a mindmap that illustrates the numerous connections I use to learn and grow as both a professional and a student required an analysis that had to be approached from a distance.
Clarissa Davis, Earl Edmunds, and Vivian Kelly-Bateman quoted George Siemen, who created the theory of connectivism, as saying:
“…connectivism is driven by the understanding that decisions are based on rapidly altering foundations. New information is continually being acquired and the ability to draw distinctions between important and unimportant information is vital. Also critical is the ability to recognize when new information alters the landscape based on decisions made yesterday” (2008, p. 2)
This made sense to me since I use the resources listed on my mind map almost daily to determine a course of action and adjust its outcome depending on new information. These inputs can include new research, critique from students, and input from other instructors. There are occasions when a student, who is much more knowledgeable about a subject then I, may recommend a different source of reference which will alter the direction and content of a course.
I am fortunate to work within a large healthcare system that provides me access to some of the leading medical professionals in the United States. The well-established communication channels used for normal day to day business also allow me to verify changes in medical knowledge quickly and efficiently.
Email, text message, and internet searches (with verification of facts) are vital to the creation of instructional content. Of course those are not the only methods of learning. The human element is vital to instilling a passion to learn which is then embedded into the educational content that I create. If I learn something interesting, I want to share that knowledge with my peers!
I believe my method of course development and education in general reflects a connectivist method of learning. The ability to acquire the world’s knowledge from the comfort of my couch makes my learning much more global, but my interactions with students, peers, and professionals helps me to place my new found knowledge in context. This allows me to grow more quickly and enthusiastically then ever before.
Davis, C, Edmunds, E, & Kelly-Bateman, V. (2008). Connectivism. In M. Orey (Ed.), Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved 10/1/12, from http://projects.coe.uga.edu/epltt/