A Learner Is Like A....


I was very interested while reading Siemens' (2005) article and listening to his audio called "The Changing Nature of Knowledge" (2009). When I first began reading the article I thought at first of thinking of a learner as a "tower of blocks". After thinking about it further I didn't think this analogy was sufficient and didn't encompass enough of my thoughts of the learner. After continuing to think about my description of a learner I was thinking about a chocolate candy with a gooey carmel inside. Although I liked this analogy I still didn't feel that this showed something that could be molded and changed as today's learner is.
Eventually, I decided on thinking of the learner as a tye-dye marshmallow Peep candy. Now to explain my reasoning... A Peep is soft marshmallow on the inside and thousands of tiny grains of sugar on the outside. I feel that each of those grains of sugar stands for the abundant knowledge of a learner. I thought of these thousands of grains of sugar when I read Siemens (2005) where we wrote that "learning...can reside outside of ourselves..." just as those grains of sugar are on the outside of a Peep. Siemens (2005) continued to say that learners have "room to grow". This quote made me think of putting a marshmallow in the microwave and how it it enlarges just as a learners knowledge grows and expands. The last part of this analogy that I included was to make the Peep tye-dye. I felt that these various colors would signify that "learning and knowledge rests in diversity of opinions" (Siemens, 2005). I felt each section of color would show this diversity of each individual learner, especially since no two Peeps would be colored exactly the same.


  1. That is a great analogy, how fun!!! It is so interesting to see what everyone thinks of after they read the article and think about learners today!! I like the idea of the surgar on the outside!! I could go for a Multicolored peep right now!!

  2. Well, everyone loves those little peeps so we can all relate. What a creative analogy !I love how your support your connections to learning. My favorite observation is how no two peeps or two learners are exactly the same. I really like how you have incorporated diversity into your analogy. Kathy

  3. Christina,
    Your explanation shows that you have incorporated several of the ideas of connectivism in your analogy. Siemens is a stong proponent of listening to a diversity of opinions and in an online course that he recently ran with Stephen Downes, he made sure to include speakers who held very contrasting views on the validity of his theory.
    Dr. Burgos

  4. I like when you tied how learners grow with the expansion of a marshmallow when you put it into a microwave! Have you ever tried it?? I'm sure it produces a huge mess :o)

  5. There is a really good book on discussing the analogies, or metaphors we use for teaching.
    It's called "Teaching In Mind" by Yero, I once blogged about the book but it must have been at a rather emotional time,
    At any rate within that book there were so many wonderful exercises a school could do together to talk about their ideas of the work an an individual can do to examine better their own conceptions and how they hold you, define you, maybe limit you. Really good.
    Good research in it.