CCK08 – Short Paper 1: Your position on Connectivism (English)

Yesterday, in a classroom of mines, I was able to observe something I cannot explain according to the cognitivist theory. Me and my pupils were solving exercises about the symbolic system (complex numbers based) in representation of sinusoidal electric signals. During a few hours we analized in depth, step by step, all different problems; after a certain time, the providing of answers did come out almost instantly, before – I’m sure – we were able to explain how! How come? What’s the process leading to answer “before” the ability to explain the process itself?

I’ll try to elucidate that: this is my “position on connectivism”.

I believe no one of learning theories is totally right or totally wrong: behaviourism, for example, is surely good to understand how we learn cycling or driving a car. If we must think to our feet before pushing on the brakes . . . well . .  how many crushes!

Cognitivism, on the other hand, is indispensable to communicate our knowledge and to the awareness of the learning process. When I am studing, I explain to myself a certain phenomenon in a linguistic manner. I learn with a dialogue with myself. For example, when was reading  La Tête bien faite : Penser la réforme, reformer la pensée (Broché) de Edgar Morin I needed to summarize the chapters of the books in my blog posts: summary and writing effort forced me, and permitted to me too, a deeper understanding of Morin’s text.

At the same time, we are sure these two learning theories are not adequate to describe the complexity of knowledge. There is more. As Downes said, the connectivism studies that “more”, investigating especially networks dynamics and distributed knowledge. I’ll write now a couple opinion of mines.

The first one is about neural networks: in my mind, neuronal connections forms a sort of “photography” of our knowledges. Downes call it “pattern”. I think the organizational level is higher, forming a sort of analog “model” of the known thing. We use mathematical models to describe the behaviour of a certain system (population growth, Cern accelerator . . .) in a very formal way. The neural analog model, the neuronic “photo”, on the contrary, is founded on the same kind of system of the object of knowledge. The neural network leading us to population dynamics understanding, probably is a twin system, with same internal functioning. My opinion, in a sense, is a sort of recuperation of the “mirror neurons” theory.

This way would be possible to explain the extreme ability of the brain to recognize instantly and instantly implement a certain process. A very banal example: when we calculate how do we have to pay for the fruit in a market, we don’t have to recall in memory the solution of the problem. We don’t think at it! We do it on our own accord, “from habit”. Probably there is something connectivist behind these!

The second one is about parallel processing of the networks: my brain, and my social network too, works at the same time other persons brain work. It’s not so improbable a sinergy between these networks, a sinergy creating new and original knowledge; distributed knowledge. In according to Andreas Formigoni “knowledge is not something you have but something you are. Yes, for me to know is to learn because to know implies a transformation and such transformation is learning.”

This kind of parallel processing would lead almost certainly to a non-deterministic response of concerned systems, both for subnetworks of a single brain, and for networks of networks at organization level.

Coming back to my pupil: I feel interesting thinking his learning during classroom work provided (at the beginning) from a cognitivist method. His use of the just made knowledges would be in a fully connectivist method.

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