I have to say I am struggling with the idea that learning may reside in non-human appliances, or that it exists outside of the person. I can't quite grasp that a mental process could exist if the mind is removed from the equation. To me it seems only information resides in the non-human appliances. Although I suppose I can form a concept of a learning organism that exists out there in the ether, consisting of the information stored on devices, the physical network that connects the devices, the ideas, thoughts, opinions, explorations and observations pertinent to that information that are added to the devices and network, (and the connections that form between the human originators of those ideas, thoughts, etc), and the processes of change and movement that occur within these structures, and finally the impact they have on society and culture, ALL constituting an unnameable learning beast which we can commune with (and influence) on a personal level. Yes, clumsy, but I need to make sense of it.
After reading Stephen Downes' blog post "What connectivism is", I have found I experience a brain freeze when I try to start comprehending the arguments of those digging deep down into the language we use to describe learning or meaning-making . I understand the arguments, and the literal meaning of their words of course, but getting my mind around the concept of learning, creating understanding or meaning-making as a physical process, trying to conceptualise it in my own mind – stumps me. Even in my attempts to write this and choose words to describe the “act” of learning I fear I am tripping myself up by using all the wrong words. It is unnerving, but challenging, therefore to be trying to learn in an atmosphere of trepidation. Learning is a mystery I struggle to make a mental model of. (!!)