Not being a specialist in learning theories gives me an opportunity to take a broader look. This picture came to mind of seven theories that all inform each other. By being interconnected, they exchange insights, metaphors, patterns and models. By providing a larger context to each one, there's an added perspective that prevents going to extremes, reinventing the wheel, relying on antiquated premises or eluding practical applications of the theory.
Briefly, here are the six theories that could inform and contextualize learning theories like Connectivism.
- Design theory addresses how we: come up with new ideas, solve problems when we take our minds off of the challenge and get unstuck when no inspirations are coming forth. The theory also explores how we make effective decisions while avoiding premature convergence, procrastination, perfectionism and over-reactions.
- Change theory addresses how some changes endure while others fizzle out. It looks at changes that happen spontaneously and those that take concerted effort. It explains how resistance to change gets provoked and how stability can deteriorate into stagnation.
- Socio-political theory explores how we get along and get things done together. It explains how gatherings of people successfully advance diverse agendas, protect their rights, reach agreements, resolve conflicts, and create support systems.
- Economic theory looks at the pricing and distribution of goods and services. It explains how enterprises succeed, innovations get nurtured, workforces maintain a standard of living and economic interests go to war with rivals.
- Media theory examines the effects of the appliances we use to receive information and entertainments. It explains the reverberations through economies, cultures and institutions when a change in technology gets innocently introduced as an added convenience.
- 21st Century science is exploring quantum theory, complexity theory, network theory and ecological theory. It's explaining phenomena like emergence, self organization, connectedness and contagion.
Each of these theories could inform learning theory advancements with different perspectives, questions and frameworks. Each of these theories could also be enhanced by considering how learning happens, what impedes its occurrences and which are the better ways promote more learning at every level.