Connectivism vs. Constructivism…

I am still trying to figure out myself the distinct differences between these two theories.  But a post by GSiemens Social connectivism trumps constructivism for third world child learning which quotes Pontydysgu’s Connectivism vs Constructivism? has me thinking about the two terms with an analogy of an building toy set. (This could also be Legos, K’Nex, Magnext or Mega bloks).

When I imagine connectivism I can see all the little pieces being linked together.  It could be one person linking, but a much better structure is achieved as more people join in, making connections, reinforcing ones they like, breaking off connections that appear to be useless, etc.  As the structure continues to grow, people step back and say “Hey!”, “Wow!”, “Look at that!”, “Do you see….!”

When I imagine constructivism I see the people discussing and as they discuss they pick up pieces and add them to the structure.  I see discussion at many levels, but I also see a more planned building.  I see some trial and error connections, but for the most part the discussion and interaction dictates the pieces and connections that are made.  The structure grows and changes in a similar manner as above, but the people interact with the structure differently.

And then I have to stop myself and ask – “Does it really matter?”  The intellectual in me says yes along with the organizer.  The teacher in me says – use the best parts and make your own.  Which sounds a lot more like a constructivist to me, but then again I’m still exploring.

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