Learning Centered Technology

Technology for the Educator

Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age

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Presented on Jan 9, 2014 by Sherri E. Ritter, Ed.D. and Kathleen Phillips, MLIS

A learning theory is an attempt to describe how people learn. Three broad learning theories are Behaviorism, Cognitivism, and Constructivism.

  • Behaviorism is a theory of learning based upon the idea that all behaviors are acquired through conditioning. Conditioning occurs through interaction with the environment.
  • Cognitivism has a premise that humans generate knowledge and meaning through sequential development of an individual’s cognitive abilities, such as the mental processes of recognize, recall, analyze, reflect, apply, create, understand, and evaluate.
  • Constructivism says people construct their own understanding and knowledge of the world, through experiencing things and reflecting on those experiences. When we encounter something new, we have to reconcile it with our previous ideas and experience, we are active creators of our own knowledge.


Connectivism was founded in 2004 by theorist George Siemens. The theory address to role technology plays in the learning process. Technology has increases the speed at which individuals have access to information and creates a learning community.


  • Connectivism is driven by the understanding that decisions are based on rapidly altering foundations.
  • New information is continually being acquired.
  • The ability to draw distinctions between important and unimportant information is vital.
  • The ability to recognize when new information alters the landscape based on decisions made yesterday is critical.

Examples of Connectivism

  • Have you ever been in a meeting and a question comes up that no one can answer and a couple minutes later that guy that never seems to be engaged in the discussion (because he is always surfing the web) speaks up with the answer… well that is connectivism.
  • Have you ever listened to a speaker and thought to yourself, “I want to know more,” and used technology to verify the facts… well that is connectivism.

Why is this important to you?

This is the new reality in the digital age and you are training students to work in this environment. The ipad was released in April 2010 and it has changed the way we learn and do business. Mobility is the new reality.

Examples of iPads in Business

Local Examples Health Care Professionals: Hospital Use

  • Find-A-Code – Medical Coding made easy.
  • Medscape – Medscape from WebMD (medscape.com) is the leading medical resource most used by physicians, medical students, nurses and other healthcare professionals for clinical information.
  • Structured Dictation – Dictation allows users to create dictations on-the-go.
  • Epocrates – Access Epocrates’ trusted clinical resources faster and more conveniently than ever from your iPad, iPad mini, iPhone, or iPod touch.
  • UpToDate – With an individual subscription to UpToDate® you can get the clinical knowledge you need from any computer, tablet, or mobile device. Choose the solution that’s right for you!
  • 103 FDA Regulated Mobile Medical Apps
  • Metronic CareLink Mobile

Business Apps

  • MicroStrategy Mobile for iPad – Quickly Build and Deploy Information-Driven Apps.
  • Roambi Analytics – Roambi Analytics™ re-designs the way you interact with, share, and present data from a completely mobile perspective. Take data from anywhere and transform it into a simple, engaging, and intuitive experience that helps you understand, present, and share your numbers.


  • Sparkvue – Keep the focus on the science, not the software. Lab software for the classroom.

Sparkvue Sensors

Other Apps

  • Remind101 – Safe way for teacher to text students.
  • Skyview – SkyView™ Free brings stargazing to everyone, and it’s totally free! Simply point your iPhone, iPad, or iPod at the sky to identify stars, constellations, satellites, and more!
  • Frog Dissection – is a greener alternative for teaching dissection in the classroom.
  • Side by Side – Open up to 4 documents in one window.

  • ScratchWork  – ScratchWork allows you to take notes and browse the web at the same time. 

*Image from http://rutraining.org/2011/06/13/a-new-learning-theory/


Written by Dr. Sherri E. Ritter

January 20, 2014 at 9:00 am

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