My learning network has changed the way I learn in a few ways. First, I am more efficient of a learner since I have several resources available with the click of a button. If I move beyond my network, out into the Internet, my resources become unlimited which is a huge benefit when following my digital pathways. My learning network has also changed my effectiveness as a learner. I am able to compare and contrast a piece of information with other sources, ensuring that I am using relevant and reliable content. This is an important aspect to my network, because my integrity could be compromised if I use information that is inaccurate or just plain wrong.
The digital tools that best facilitate learning for me include Google search, PowerPoint, YouTube, Articulate, Camtasia, and Skype. With Google search, I can type in any term, concept or idea, and 99% of the time, I get relevant links back. This provides a quick method for validating an idea or checking references. PowerPoint allows me a quick delivery method for content. I primarily use it to mock up eLearning courses prior to going into full authoring mode. YouTube has a vast amount of educational videos. I’ve learned several computer programs on my own using tutorials that I found through YouTube. Articulate has a great suite of software. I regularly use Storyline 2 for authoring. It is very intuitive and easy to create a quick course, as long as content is readily available. Camtasia is a tool that I recently began to use. It’s great for producing video clips which I then can import into Storyline to increase the impact of the courses I develop. Lastly, Skype is great for collaboration and provides a quick method for getting questions answered or leaving feedback for a team member. Private groups can be created so the conversation flows around a focused topic.
A long time ago (before 2003), when I had questions that peers couldn’t answer, I would have to go to the library to do a little research. During my first couple of years in school, I could always ask my teachers as well. As technology has evolved, my first source for answers is Google. It’s the easiest, and I admit laziest, way to start a search for answers to questions that I may have. I can still use the help of my peers through the ISD community, but I’m still using a computer to do so. I am dependent on technology to answer my questions.My personal learning network definitely supports the central tenets of connectivism. My network relies heavily on the presence of technology as a way to collaborate and distribute knowledge. My network promotes learning at the social and external levels. The Internet is a major tool that supports connectivism, because in an instant, I can connect to an unlimited amount of resources (digital and human) throughout the world. It seems that the Internet’s primary benefit is the amount of connectivity it provides to its users.