‘Connectivism’ and Connective Knowledge – Article Summary

The following is a summary of Stephen Downes 2011 web article, ‘Connectivism’ and Connective Knowledge. Access to this article can be made using the following link.


  • Connectivism – ‘networked-based pedagogy.
  • In connectivist courses ‘everything is option’.  The readings and materials provided are designed to serve ‘merely as a catalyst…for getting our projects, discussion and interactions off the ground.’
  • ‘Knowledge…if not acquired , as though it were a thing,  It is not transmitted, as though it were some type of communication…[it is rather] ‘the connections we form between neurons as a result of experiences.  Learning therefore is ‘the formation of connections.’
  • Idea behind a connectivist course – ‘the learner is immersed within a community of practitioners and introduced to ways of doing the sorts of things practitioners do, and through that practice, becomes more similar in act, through and values to the member of that community.’
  • Connectivist teaching and learning consists of four types of activities; aggregation, remixing, repurposing, and feeding forward.

Aggregation:  Learner is provide with a wide range of materials related to the course from which they ‘pick and choose what they will read, watch or participate in.’

Remixing:  These types of activities look to make connections between the materials.

Repurposing:  ‘Learning is not simple a process of reception and filtering.  It is important to create something, to actively participate in the discipline.’… ‘It is important to remember that creativity does not start from scratch…Nobody every creates something from nothing,  That’s why [it is called] ‘repurpose’ instead of ‘create’.’

Feeding Forward:  The essence of this activity is to share your work with others.  To continue the dialogue through feedback and discussion about the discipline.

  • ‘Rewards, by their very nature, narrow our focus…by neglecting the ingredients of genuine motivation – autonomy, mastery and purpose – they limit what each of use can achieve.’
  • Connectivism as previously been described as ‘constructionsim’ (Seymour Papert) – ‘people learn through practice.’

“Knowledge is not something we can package neatly in a sentence and pass along as though it were a finished product. It is complicated, distributed, mixed with other concepts, looks differently to different people, is inexpressible, tacit, mutually understood but never articulated.

When we focus on the content of a discipline, we miss most of that. We learn the words, but not the dance.


Downes, S. (2011). ‘Connectivism’ and Connective Knowledge’. Retrieved July 25, 2014, from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/stephen-downes/connectivism-and-connecti_b_804653.html



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