Some of last week's conversations defining knowledge were very theoretical and a little difficult to follow. Still, they were thought-provoking and certainly had me questioning my perspectives with regard to knowledge and knowing. In the simplest sense, I am able to view knowledge as qualitative, quantitative, or connective. George Siemens verified via our UStream discussion that knowledge can be both qualitative or quantitative AND connective. That provided some clarification.
One question that continued to resonate with me...What has changed that makes connectivism a viable learning theory at this point in history? Many of the components of the theory apply to face-to-face communities as much as they do to virtual ones. Why don't we view connectivism as a general theory of group learning rather than a theory that applies the use of technology to learning? Relating connectivism to changes in the knowledge environment helped clarify the role of technology. Knowledge-sharing is becoming easier, knowledge itself more accessible. A number of trends are changing the knowledge environment. These trends facilitate connected learning. (See concept map below.) Technology is making the environmental change possible.