Technology for Teaching & Learning

(Critical Review)

George Siemens’ (2005) article “Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age” has sparked both innovation and controversy (Anderson, 2009; Kop & Hill, 2008; Bell, 2001). In stark contrast to Clark’s (1983) analogy that the truck delivering our groceries does not impact our nutrition, “only the content of the vehicle can influence achievement” (Clark, 1983, p. 445), Siemens suggests in the current knowledge economy “the pipe is more important than the content in the pipe” (Siemens, 2005, p.6). As the article unfolds, however, a more apt rendering may be that connectivism repositions media as a type of content, in that media, as tools of cognitive engagement, have the potential to transform the content of learning (Cobb, 1997).

The editor’s note accompanying Siemens’ (2005) publication describes it as a “milestone article” (Siemens, 2005, p. 1). From a theoretical standpoint, connectivism is important because it integrates existing learning theories (Ally…

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