Visualizing my understanding of connectivism

I have often tried to explain my biggest problem with connectivism (most recently on Friday). Maybe a picture works better.

See Slideshare version

There is the neuronal layer (more precisely: “domain”), and then there is the society layer. But how are these related? The recent criticisms show that it is difficult to reconcile these two. Unfortunately, a possible third one closing the gap, does not yet qualify for the strictly sound arguments of Stephen Downes: the conceptual connections, that are still merely a metaphor.

However, I think they make it easier to understand what “knowledge in a society” means.


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4 Responses to Visualizing my understanding of connectivism

  1. Howard says:

    Hi Matthias;
    I’ve thought of this link through Vygotsky’s social genesis. Since we are totally dependent as infants, we experience the world relationally. So neurons do not give rise to society, rather the opposite, society happens and thought is functionally organized to deal with society. I would think that neurology is organized around and emerges from these demands. Mirror neurons are one adaptation that helps jump start this organization. I tend to think or concepts as a part of society, not a separate entity. Do you think this is possible.

  2. x28 says:

    Hi Howard, thanks for your visit and for adding the omitted reverse direction. In principle, the arrows are reversible (as my importunately animated image is supposed to suggest). I think it works with recognition, resonance and not only with words. But it is dangerous to think of concepts (beyond terms and notions) as a part of society because then it is easy to mistake them for universals and black boxes and magic, as I understand Stephen. An infant’s concepts like “mum” may seem as very elementary and hence universal, but as soon as the little individual has recognized an instance of the “concept” of mum, it’s his/her OWN one and an individual concept.

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