Marc Clarà and Elena Barberà have advanced at least two articles now where they argue that there are three problems with connectivism. One of these is Learning online: massive open online courses (MOOCs), connectivism, and cultural psychology (Distance Education, 34:1, 129-136). The other, behind a paywall, is Three problems with the connectivist conception of learning (Journal of Computer Assisted Learning. DOI: 10.1111/jcal.12040).
Matthias Melcher was good enough to point out some of the problems with the latter article, including some noteworthy misquotations. In this post I would like to respond to the substantive criticisms, of which there are four:
– connectivist ideas have been widely and rapidly disseminated, but without the academic control procedures which the development of a learning theory needs to ensure rigour and systematicity in its postulates
– the ‘learning paradox.’ This paradox, first posed by Socrates (Plato, 2002), can be applied to connectivism as follows: How do you recognize a pattern if you do not already know that a specific configuration of connections is a pattern?
– connectivism underconceptualizes interaction and dialogue, by understanding it as a learner’s connection to a human node in the network.
– connectivism is unable to explain concept development… if a concept consists of a specific pattern of associations, how can it be explained that the concept develops but the pattern of associations remains the same?