Rebecca J. Hogue

Rhizomatic learning and connectivism #rhizo14

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There has been much reflection of late within the #rhizo community about the connection between rhizomatic learning and connectivism. So, to that end this post was inspired by Keith Hamon’s post – not that I actually read his post before writing this, just that his opening sentence caused me to reflection on the connection between the rhizome and connectivism.

At the #et4online conference, when I attended MOOC presentations, I found that often they would say “connectivism” without having a clue what that meant. I found that was also true of my students, who had read that MOOCs were based upon connectivist learning theory – but they never really understood what that meant. At the time, I realized that I had internalized what it meant (or at least what it means for me) and I wasn’t sure how or why I suddenly “got it”, but I often found myself says “you are missing the point” of connectivism.

The rhizome connection provides an ah-ha moment. For me the rhizome helps to indicate the responsibility of the individual to the overall community – and the propagation of the species. Each node operates autonomously, but also, provides support for those who are connected. The reason the community lives and spreads is because of the work of the individuals who are contributing to it. Without the individuals activity trying to propagate the species, the community dies. Without the individuals providing support for those who are directly connected to them the community dies. There is this inherent responsibility of the individual when operating in a connectivist world. The xMOOC sphere doesn’t have this interdependence – it is about dissemination, rather than propagation.

Now, I must admit I have not read Deleuze and Guattari. References to their work are often associated with poststructuralism or postmodernism (or critical theory) – world views that often confuse my pragmatic brain rather than providing clarity.  However, if there is a connection here – a better way to appreciate what is currently happening in #rhizo14, where the community is becoming more than the curriculum, where it is moving beyond, then maybe I should start looking into what they have to say. One of my co-conspirators for a panel proposal asked “do you need to read Deleuze and Guattari to understand #rhizo14?” … Having not read any of their works, I’m thinking perhaps now would be a good a time as any to start … Any specific recommendations on where to start?

3 comments for “Rhizomatic learning and connectivism #rhizo14

  1. April 22, 2014 at 2:46 pm

    Thanks, Rebecca. I would never discourage anyone from reading Deleuze and Guattari, though they can be most challenging—still, I’m pleased that their ideas are spreading beyond them. It suggests the valid and valuable currency of those ideas. I’ll bet that these days most people have a fair understanding of relativity without having read Einstein. I think you can have a useful, working understanding of rhizome without reading Deleuze and Guattari. Rhizo14 proved that.

  2. April 22, 2014 at 5:09 am

    Hi Rebecca.

    Thanks for your post.

    Now, I am trying to read about rhizomatic learning and I think that is important to read Deleuze and Guattari too (maybe you can start here: but there are several classic readings, for instance:
    Wenger, E. (1998). Communities of practice : Learning, meaning, and identity. Cambridge, U.K. ; New York, N.Y.: Cambridge University Press.
    Bandura, A. (1977). Social learning theory. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice Hall.

    I think that is important to read about rhizomes, but is required to read about learning before, now I am in this step ;-)

    Moreover, you could find more readings about rhizomatic learning here:

    All the best.

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