Connectives and Collectives

George Siemens interesting and provocative presentation at D2L Fusion 2008 titled Connectives and Collectives: Learning Alone, together talks about the autonomy of self (Connectives) and the subsumption of self (Collectives). He quotes:

“Intense connectivity can homogenize the pool…high cohesiveness can lead to the sharing of common rather than novel information” Uzzi, Spiro (2005)

Excerpted slide from George's presentation

George suggests that as ties become stronger and individuals aggregate into groups and collectives, the discourse becomes normed (in fact there is a veritable coercion to the norm) that leads to a drying up of new ideas that are novel and diverse. In the diagram above, he also ties it up with autonomy to the learner, which he believes to decrease as these ties increase in strength and degree.

George goes on to quote:

“Diverse people working together and capitalizing on their individuality, out-perform groups of like-minded experts”
Scott Page

He states that a challenge facing us today is to preserve the unique values of connectives and collectives and that the role of educators is to build designs for varied levels of connectedness and to value collective effort insofar as it contributes to the whole.

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