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Connectivism, Personal Learning Networks, and Communities of Practice


(As I was trying to figure out an image that describes the concepts learned in this module, I had to go back to the beginning. That really helped to bring it all together).

Betsy Duke, Ginger Harper, and Mark Johnston (2013),  quote Stephen Downes, one of the developers of connectivism, stating that connectivism is “…the thesis that knowledge is distributed across a network of connections, and therefore that learning consists of the ability to construct and traverse those networks” (pg. 6). For me, a map of a city reminds me of connectivism. The person traveling from one place to another is like the learner traveling the internet superhighway, trying to make connections in his or her mind as they are learning. As cities are being built, streets are forming network of connections to get the traveler from one place to another. A personal learning network is “a network of trusted connections with whom an individual interacts (and learns from) on a regular basis. In other words, your PLN is where you gather, collect, communicate, create and also share knowledge and experience with a group of connected people, anywhere at any time” (Gutierrez, K., 2016). Personal learning networks are similar to malls. They are connecting individual shops into one place, where shoppers (communities of practice), can gather to purchase (collect) items or meet with friends (communicate). “Communities of practice are groups of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly” (Wenger-Trayner, E. & B., 2015).


Duke, B., & Harper, G., & Johnston, M. (2013). Connectivism as a digital learning theory. The International HETL Review. Special Issue. Retrieved from

Gutierrez, K. (2016). What are personal learning networks? SH!FT Disruptive ELearning. Retrieved from

Wenger-Trayner, E. & B. (2015). Introduction to communities of practice. A brief overview of the concept and its uses. Retrieved from



One thought on “Connectivism, Personal Learning Networks, and Communities of Practice

  1. Suzy –
    I like how you relate the connections we form in our PLN with city streets. Great metaphor. All three of the parts (connectivism, PLN, CoP) fit within this metaphor – it’s just a matter of zooming in or out within the metaphor to match the three definitions. Well done.


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