Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Connectivism and Social Learning in Practice

The social learning theory is another effective teaching strategy that is used in many different classrooms. This learning theory is often called cooperative learning. Many teachers use cooperative learning as way to teach our students how to interact, connect, and communicate with each other. It can also be used to teach our students how to take responsible for their learning. By having our students work and communicate in small groups it allows them to talk, share, and discuss with each other. During these discussions, students bounce ideas off each other, ask questions, and hopefully figure out the answers together. This allows students to take on the role of both teacher and student and in the process they learn from each instead of always relying on the teacher for help.

I believe that in order for the social learning theory or cooperative learning to be effective, it needs to be paired with another learning theory. For example, teachers often combine the social and constructionism learning theory. By combing these two theories, teachers require that students work and communicate with each other to create a meaningful artifact that can illustrate what students have learned. To make the activity more engaging, teachers incorporate the use of technology. Technology gives students the opportunity to not only communicate and create in the classroom but outside of the classroom as well. In this week’s resources the theory of connectivism was introduced. This theory incorporates many advantage of technology such as the abundant amount of information available and the multiple outlets or networks available for use. In today’s technology world, students can use their small phones, laptops, and computers to access vase amounts of information and communicate with anyone regardless of their location. Technology allows gives student of advantage to visualize, see, and view information which aids with learning. Cooperative learning is an effective strategy to use because it requires that students work with each other and hopefully learn something from each other. It can be effective because when students learn from each other that switch roles between student and teacher and in turn are responsible for their own learning.

The social learning theory can be a powerful instructional and teaching strategy when used correctly. I think it is important to use this strategy to aid with other learning theories and not rely on this strategy as student’s only source of learning. It is important to allow students to create meaningful artifacts based on the information taught in order to avoid inert knowledge. We use the cooperative learning to have students communicate with their peers but we also need to ensure that our students can apply what the information taught to a situation or task.

Voicethread Link:


Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer) (2010) Social Learning Theories. Retrieved from
Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer) (2010) Connectivism as a Learning Theory. Retrieved from
Pitler H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. (2007). Using Technology with Classroom Instruction that Works. Alexandria, VA: ASCD


  1. I like the way you made the connection between social learning and another theory to be effective. I completely agree with you. Students need to be engaged in the creation of something before they can be learning from one another socially.

  2. You are right on! Students are more engaged when technology is involved. I can take any topic in my class and as long as I add technology in some way, they are interested. Many times when my students work in cooperative groups, some of the kids do all the work while others just sit there. When they are working on a PowerPoint, blog, or the SmartBoard, they are all engaged. Usually I have arguing because they all want to be a part of the project!

  3. Great ideas on how to incorporate technology with the social learning theory. I also couldn't agree with you more that this particular theory really does need to be used in conjunction with other theories. I also think that most of us use pieces and parts of all of these theories we've discussed in this class. The various needs of our students dictate the fact that we can't just choose one theory and run with it. They all have so many different needs in order to be successful at school that we have to teach using multiple strategies. One of the main things that has really stuck out to be about this particular theory is the requirement that the students work collaboratively with their peers. This opportunity offers them a true real word experience and I find that very valuable in the classroom. The incoporation of technology validates their experiences and I certainly can't argue with how important that is for them. Nice post!