I do believe connectivism has some merits as a component of existing learning theories. To suggest that the network IS the learning is a bit of a stretch for me. I commonly use Google, listservs (Blackboard has a good one), knowledgebase databases, and many websites to search for knowledge I need in order to help someone else. It’s a regular part of my job. To ask some that I help in my daily work to do this on their own is a stretch. In other words, I think that learning with connectivism could highly depend upon the skill set of the learner interacting with the network and even the structure of the network itself. A person that is interacting with the network for the first time may spend extraneous cognitive processes on that learning as opposed to getting the information they need. If this is too cumbersome, then no learning will take place. In addition, someone wanting to build upon existing knowledge, essentially constructing new knowledge would be doing so in a relationship with the network, not necessarily the two being the same entities (ie, the network and the learning that takes place as a result of the network).
So, it is an emerging and very interesting theory. It recognizes that learners will still use networks to construct or further their existing knowledge, but also recognizes the common use of knowledge networks in today’s world. For me, it is very applicable because I tend to access multiple networks of knowledge and various communities of knowledge to get answers to things I absolutely have to know in order to do my job. Without the network, I would be essentially unable to perform my job duties in a productive manner. So, for me, the network is a means to an end and learning is a function of the end.
Kop, R., & Hill, A. (2008). Connectivism: Learning theory of the future or vestige of the past?. The International Review Of Research In Open And Distance Learning, 9(3). Retrieved November 2, 2010, from http://www.irrodl.org/index.ph…w/523/1137