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5 Tips For Using Connectivism In eLearning

Siemens’ Connectivism Learning Theory suggests that online peer networks, such as social media sites and online forums, play a vital role in eLearning experiences. They allow learners to learn from social interaction and collaboration, and by benefiting from the personal experience and diverse opinions of their peers. In this article, I’ll offer 5 tips on how to use connectivism in your next eLearning course.
5 Tips For Using Connectivism In eLearning

Connectivism In eLearning: 5 Tips For eLearning Professionals

Experiences is an invaluable part of the learning process, but incorporating real world, hands-on knowledge can be a challenge in eLearning. Fortunately, connectivism gives you the ability to incorporate social media networks, community forums, video sharing platforms, and a variety of other online tools to make your eLearning courses collaborative, interactive, and experience-rich. Even if your learners are a world apart, they can still communicate and share feedback with their peers in order to broaden their knowledge base and skill sets. In this article, I will explore how to apply connectivism in your eLearning strategy.

  1. Get online learners involved.
    Each and every member of your audience should be an active participant in the eLearning process. They should be made to feel as though they have complete control over their personal eLearning experience, and that their level or participation has a direct impact upon how and when they achieve their goals. Let them know exactly what is expected of them, as well as which tools are at their disposal within the virtual learning environment. In fact, you may want to create a resource list that they can use to determine which eLearning platforms are ideally suited for their personal needs and preferences. For example, if they encounter a problem they can simply refer to the list to see which social media sites, blogs, or video sharing platforms can help them resolve the issue.
  2. Create an online learning community.
    Learners should be aware of the fact that they are part of a greater online learning community, which can be achieved by encouraging them to communicate with their peers and instructors online. Set up a forum where they can reach out to other online learners when they encounter a problem or want to benefit from the skills and experience of their peers. You can even create a social media group that gives your online learners a place to gather virtually and address their concerns or share valuable links.
  3. Blog it!
    Blogs are a powerful tool in the world of eLearning. You can use them to keep your online learners updated on important events, or even embed a calendar that reminds them about upcoming due dates and eLearning assessments. There are a variety of free blogging platforms out there today, such as Blogger and WordPress, which give you the chance to create a blog without spending a dime of your eLearning budget. Try to post at least once a week to get your online learners thinking about a specific topic and offer supplemental online learning resources they can use to expand their understanding.
  4. Spark the online discussion.
    There may be some occasions when your online learners need a little nudge in order to communicate or share feedback. This is why it’s always a good idea to spark the online discussion yourself by posting a question at least once a week or addressing a specific topic, then let your online learners take it from there. Once they have a guideline to go by, they will be more likely to actually engage in the conversation and stay on-topic. Keep an eye on the posts to make sure that they are still on track, and guide them back onto the subject if you notice that they are veering too far off the eLearning course.
  5. Educate tech-resistant learners.
    There may be  some learners who are resistant to technology and may struggle with the idea of collaborating with their peers online or using internet-based resources. The key to engaging these learners is to stress the real world benefits of connectivist learning principles, as well as instructing them on how to properly use the tools and online platforms. In some cases, you may find that they are resistant simply because they don’t know how to utilize the tools effectively. So, offer them online tutorials, workshops, and presentations using a social learning  approach to your eLearning strategy.

Connectivism allows you to tap into the power of the internet and create a learning environment that nurtures the social nature of your audience. Use these tips to develop an eLearning strategy that encourages online collaboration and social interaction, so that your learners can feel like they are part of an amazing eLearning experience.

Want to know how collaboration tools can be integrated into your connectivist strategy? Read the article Top 10 Tips to Use Collaboration Tools in eLearning to discover how to boost the collaboration of your eLearning course.

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