My mind map illustrated above shows that my network changed the way I search for information because now I use a selection of options that include searching for a topic in journal articles or peer-reviewed articles. Before I returned to school in early 2001, I learned by reading books and using the library to research. By reviewing blogs I also have the opportunity to have control over what I learn and view other’s perception on a topic. My personal learning network supports the central ideas of connectivism because it includes social media where a variety of points of views are shared. According to Davis, Edmunds, and Kelly-Bateman(2008) in Connectivism in Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology, connectivism supports the theory that learning and knowledge are built on the diversity of point of views. A variety of point of views can be shared within a group or even a group of that interacts online such as with a blog.
The digital tool that best facilitates my learning is the Internet. In Adult Learning, an article by Conlan, Grabowski, and Smith (2003) the authors argued that adults search for convenient and practical learning options such as online learning. Online library databases, textbooks, and publications are a fast avenue for access to all that I want to learn. Blogs, Facebook, and Twitter have also been influential as useful tools for my learning because these social mediums provide the opportunity to interact with others and share knowledge. I gain new knowledge when I have questions by conducting a search either online or within a library database. I apply my critical thinking skills to decipher what information I need and what information I do not need. Merriam, Caffarella and Baumgartner (2007) argued that self-directed learning concentrates on the adult learner’s ability to be introspective and think critically. The adult learner’s ability to identify with the subject matter and apply it to their life and beliefs is essential to the goal of self-directed learning. The use of social media fulfills my need to learning in an environment that promotes networking and collective, often critical thinking.
I believe that higher education has become innovative in the need to attract all types of learners. Adult learners are attracted to online programs perhaps because of the flexibility and unique learning experience. Learning institutions must stay competitive to attract learners, but they must also bear in mind that one size does not fit everyone.
Conlan, J., Grabowski, S., & Smith, K. (2003). Adult learning. In M. Orey (Ed.), Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology.
Davis, C., Edmunds, E., & Kelly-Bateman, V. (2008). Connectivism. In M. Orey (Ed.), Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology.
Merriam,S, B., R. S. Caffarella, & L. M. Baumgartner. (2007). Learning in Adulthood: A Comprehensive Guide.San Francisco: John Wiley & Sons