EdTech 543 – Creative Expression Reflection

Connectivism, Communities of Practice (CoPs), and Personal Learning Networks have a lot in common. To guide my image search, I made a keyword list for each. Funnily enough, I seemed to keep repeating myself: network, community, learn, social. Each word applies to each concept, but the meaning/emphasis changes.

The Connectivist principles that I wanted to relay in my 3 images were the ideas of network connectivity, learner collaboration, and lifelong learning. George Siemens explains that the Internet and Web 2.0 tools have created a complex environment that has changed the way knowledge grows and learning happens (Siemens, 2007). This complex environment makes the three ideas represented in the images I chose crucial elements of learning. The wealth of knowledge online makes it impossible for one person to know everything about a subject, so networks of experts collaborate to learn together. As Siemens stated in his article “Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age,” Connectivism recognizes “the tectonic shifts in society where learning is no longer an internal, individualistic activity” (2005).

Communities of Practice (CoPs) and Personal Learning Networks (PLNs) have several similarities; however, the key aspect that I wanted to highlight in my image selection was that CoPs are more formal and PLNs are more informal. Both communities are of like-minded people that connect as a network dedicated to learning, but each approaches learning through different means. CoPs utilize “social participation” (Lave & Wenger, 2016) in which members are active participants; whereas, PLNs offer more choice and allow participants to contribute or simply exist on the periphery (Staff, 2016). That being said, I tried to choose images that had a more personal feel for PLNs and a more formal, business feel for CoPs.

Finally, I chose an image that portrayed connection and collaboration through technology and pulled key images from the three concepts to express how they all came together under a similar objective. The sharing devices image portrays the idea that technology allows people to share and learn from each other in new and exciting ways. Simply by tapping our phones together, we can connect, share, and learn.  


Communities of Practice (Lave and Wenger). (2016). from https://www.learning-theories.com/communities-of-practice-lave-and-wenger.html

Siemens, G. (2005). Connectivism: A learning theory for the digital age. International Journal of Instructional Technology and Distance Learning, 2(1), 3-10. from http://itdl.org/journal/jan_05/article01.htm

Siemens, G. (2007). The changing nature of knowledge. [Video File]. from https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=3&v=YMcTHndpzYg

Staff, T. (2016). What Is A Personal Learning Network? from http://www.teachthought.com/pedagogy/what-is-a-personal-learning-network/


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