—The traditional learning approaches (i.e.
educational philosophies or paradigms) of behaviouralism,
humanism, cognitivism, social learning theory and
constructivism, have been the foundation of instructional design
and teaching practice. Connectivism, considered a learning
paradigm in its infancy by some and a learning theory by others,
augurs a more intrinsic approach for learning in the 21 century.
This study explores the perceptions of 76 higher education
learners regarding the use of a connectivism pedagogical
approach through the use of personal learning environments.
Forming part of a project to evaluate the effectiveness of
personal learning environments to support self-directed
learning, and thus indirectly self-regulated learning,
semi-structured interviews was utilized. Results obtained
include improve learner motivation, engagement, collaboration
and self-actualization. Of special interest was the element of
self-actualization, generally associated with humanism. In
addition, learners found the new learning environment
challenging, requiring them to think critical about module
content. Self-directed learning, supported by the pedagogical
approach of connectivism and personal learning environments,
is postulated to be a crucial skill set for the 21 century learner.
—Connectivism, self-directed learning,
self-regulated learning, pedagogy.
P. W. Conradie is with Department of Information and Communication
Technology, Vaal University of Technology, South Africa (e-mail:
Cite: P. W. Conradie, "Supporting Self-Directed Learning by Connectivism and Personal Learning Environments," International Journal of Information and Education Technology vol. 4, no. 3, pp. 254-259, 2014.