Feed it Forward: Share (#CCK11)

Connectivism, a learning theory for a digital age. (Credit: Clix)

Hi. I am writing because I have interacted with a fellow participant of the #CCK11 course, Connectivism and Connected Knowledge 2011.

I immediately recognized connectivism as a learning theory that suited my personal learning habits. I am a self-directed, autonomous learner. I like learning, I enjoy discovering ways to help me be a better teacher.

Connectivism fully supports that by bringing me into contact with like minded individuals, some with incredible ideas and insights that help me improve. And yes, I do hope that some people also find that they get useful ideas and information from me…

Now, I would like to share with you what John Mak says in answer to the question: What’s new in Connectivism?”

John Mak (Quote) “Connectivism is new in that it is:

about the distribution of knowledge in the network and oneself (including our brain – your and my brain), and the solution lies in one’s brain. All problems and solutions are there in the brain – your brain if you want to solve the problem, and my brain if it is my problem and solution. And what connectivism differs from other learning theories is that we could connect one’s brain to others’ “brains” that will lead to continuously improved and innovative solutions for me and the network in this digital age – networks including yourself with collective wisdom with emergent knowledge.” (End of quote)

Ladies and gentlemen, as you can see, John Mak has been “dipped in magical waters”. Interacting with people like John will also result in you being “dipped in magical waters”.

I recently asked John, at his blog, three questions:

1. Is connectivism only for the benefit of an autonomous, self-directed learner, like you and me?

2. How could a teacher get students, who learn because they have to, because they are going to be tested and thus have to know certain information, and thus, understandably, lack intrinsic motivation to learn?

3. Would you say that connectivistic learning is powerful enough to overcome the inertia and lethargy common to most students in our schools and universities?

John Mak generously took the time to give me an amazing answer: thorough, complete, informative, and extremely useful, not only for me, but for any educator.

I encourage you to go to John Mak’s blog to view the answer, and to get acquainted with him. Leave no doubt in your mind, you will be glad that you took the time to meet him. He’s only a mouse-click away:




About profesorbaker

Thomas Baker is the Past-President of TESOL Chile (2010-2011). He enjoys writing about a wide variety of topics. The source and inspiration for his writing comes from his family.
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6 Responses to Feed it Forward: Share (#CCK11)

  1. Excellent questions. I believe in questions more than answers. Questions are open windows do new connections. Answers are dead ends. And mostly, I admire people who know how to ask good questions.


    • Hi Daisy,

      Thanks for your lovely comments. At the moment, I’m full of questions. I hope to arrive at understandings which prove beneficial for my students and myself as this course goes on. Hopefully, my “understandings” won’t be dead ends, but places from which to keep evolving from.

      I’m happy that this course has connected us, and I realise that connectivism sets out with this goal in mind, namely, to help bring knowledge together, connection to connection, person to person, in aggregate form.

      Then you and I extract what interests us from the connection, adapt it to our purposes, and then share it with others. Stephen Downes uses a phrase I really like to describe this: “Feed it Forward”.

      Again, it’s a pleasure to connect with you, and in my case, I admire people, who admire people, who ask good questions! 🙂

      Yes, any outside reader can assume that Daisy and Thomas admire each other!

      Best regards,


  2. Simon says:

    Just to be contrarian for a second …
    I love questions, but they’re only useful if they do lead to answers, however tentative. Perpetual questioning for its own sake seems pointless to me.
    And isn’t a new connection – the thing that questions open up – some kind of answer? Aren’t the map of new networks built in the brain, that allows us to move on to new territory, an ‘answer’. It means we don’t have to keep on questioning, say, what does “brain” mean? We have an answer to that, so let’s move on to more and deeper questions about the brain.

    Those deeper answers of course provide reasons to keep an open mind on the question of “what is the brain” – so there is a sense that we can’t arrive at an absolutely definitive, exhaustive answer to the question. But we can, and do, make reasonable assertions, that are true-as-far-as-we-know, and we can’t really do anything, have purposeful conversation, or make any progress in life and work, without them.
    I think you put it well, Thomas, when you say you hope your”“understandings” won’t be dead ends, but places from which to keep evolving from.”



    • Hi Simon,

      Thank you kindly for your response Simon.

      I think your position allows me to agree with you that perpetual questioning is pointless. Also, an absolute definitive answer must be approached with caution. What we know today may very well be wrong tomorrow. History gives us countless cases of this, where human beliefs of one day and age are being challenged by new insights which render the old beliefs invalid (George’s flat Earth, for example).

      Yet, if we are open to that proposition, then we can see our current answers as an evolutionary state, as we strive for currency – being up to date with our answers, or knowledge.

      Again, Simon, thanks for stopping by and interacting with me. I appreciate the opportunity to learn with and from you. Please feel free to return in the future, you are welcome here my friend.

      Best regards,


  3. Thanks Thomas for your very kind words, and valuable insights.
    How would questions lead me and “us” to learn? By being inquisitive, we would ask ourselves and others the underpinning reasons for a particular proposition or the making of a claim. So question is a way to connect with other inner self and each others, especially if we would like to understand each others’ views and thus gain a deeper perspective on those views, and that we could compare them with ours.

    Would such questions lead to further questions? Would “appreciative inquiry” lead to further “inquiry”? As proposed by Daisy:”Questions are open windows to new connections.” Would that open up the conversation?

    What sort of questions would help us in digging deeper into learning? Renewed thanks for your great questions.


    • Hi John,

      Thanks for stopping by to visit me here.

      Questions have value in shaping and reshaping our thinking on a particular issue, especially if we are open and tolerant to what we learn, especially if it contradicts something that we hold to be true, yet when seen in the light of new information, needs to be revised accordingly.

      What kind of questions help us in digging deeper into learning? At the moment, i must confine myself to answering simply: Questions which seek to confirm or disprove my current knowledge. This brings me full circle, back to Daisy, because questions such as these would indeed, open windows to new connections.”

      Again, thanks for stopping by John. A pleasure to interact with you, and I look forward to future conversations on this and various related topics.

      Best regards,


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