The fourth principle of Connectivism

The fourth principle of connectivism, as proposed by Siemens (2005), is the capacity to know is more critical than what is currently known. In this principle, the idea is not about knowing more of what one already knows, but instead using the information available to think critically about what they know and why they think they know it. Having more knowledge is no longer enough; we need the skills to acquire, analyze, and validate the information that we have.

 Currently, gaining information or knowledge is just at the tip of the learners’ finger. When a teacher asks their students to go and look for information on climate in Malaysia, as an example, students may just turn to the internet, look up the climate in Malaysia in Google Search, and present the data as is to the teacher and the classroom. The internet is a treasure trove of data and information. However, one still needs the skills to look for the right information, critically analyze it and the source, and validate the data. Not all data and information gotten from the internet is valid and reliable. Thus, I think that it is vital for learners to learn how to conduct proper research online, from getting data from reputable sources and on how to analyze and validate their findings.  

For example, the teacher could get the learners to look for information from books and articles first and then to search for supporting data or information from the internet, as a supplement to sources such as books. This could help to lessen the over-reliance of unverifiable details from the internet. Besides that, the teacher could teach the learners on how to do an internet search effectively, such as using the Boolean operator and learn to use command such “site:” so that information can be collected from reputable sites. In the rapid development of information and technology nowadays, learners need to learn and unlearn effectively as things that they know today may become obsolete and no longer reliable tomorrow.

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