What is learning? Connectivism is a theory that has learning as a fluid model of joining nodes together. Making connections or associating things together is the basis of learning. Piaget’s example of a toddler knowing a dog and seeing a cow for the first time and associating the cow as a dog because it has four legs is an example of the toddler making a connection.
Connectivism and informal learning in the classroom can elevate student learning as it allows students to take the prescribed (formal) lesson and give it meaning and value to the student. As the student takes the core lesson and branches out to discover her interests and her classmates interests, they are making connections that will last longer because it is personal.
The above site lists some reasons according to Siemens about the relevance of connectivism to the classroom. I remember thinking when learning a new concept back in school that I brushed off the information thinking to myself, “This doesn’t matter to me.” If the teacher would have let me and other students internalize and share with each other, maybe I would have seen the relevance to my peers and ultimately myself and retained the learning better by making a personal connection.