An impressive talk here on TED by Timothy Prestero.
Timothy thinks we need to design for manufacture and distribution, actual use and appearance. Timothy posted a number of questions: Are we designing for the world we want? Are we designing for outcomes?
I think this concept of designing for outcomes could equally be applicable to the design of education and learning in our world?
Are we designing education for people?
What sort of design would we need in our education system? Is it an open or a closed education system or a hybrid education system?
I think education could be categorized under an Open or Closed System, and that under an institutional model, the closed system would likely be run based on good to best practice, whereas the open system would likely be run based on emergent to novel practice.
What skills and literacies should be included in the course curriculum in HE?
The skills and literacies that higher education institutions are aiming to include in the course curriculum may include: creativity and invention, global awareness, critical thinking and problem solving, information & technology, collaboration, cooperation and communication.
How are strategies deployed to design, implement and develop the course curriculum?
Relating to Mintzberg’s deliberate and emergent strategy (refer also to this acceptance speech by Clayton Christensen who comments on the use of deliberate and emergent strategy):
Most formal institutions have been structured on a planned structure and curriculum, with planned strategies originating in formal plans: precise intention exist, formulated and articulated by central leadership, backed up by formal controls to ensure surprise-free implementation in benign, controllable or predictable environment; strategies most deliberate.
With a formal education system, such planned strategies are ideal for content delivery, where knowledge is “transferred” from educators to learners, and that is where instructivism would be the ideal pedagogy. Good to best practice in teaching would further be based on structured course design, mastery learning, evaluation and feedback model.
The introduction of online distance learning in the recent x MOOC movement however have shifted the learning towards an “open” yet massive model of education, with a possibility of emergent learning as educators and learners are now learning via the open web, on top of the closed LMS (Learning Management Systems) provided by the institutions.
A different set of strategies from the deliberate strategies seemed to have emerged, and this may significantly influence the formal controls that are required to run the MOOC in a cost effective and efficient manner when the courses are open to the public free of charge.
Here the entrepreneurial strategies have been considered and adopted: such strategies originate in central vision, intentions exist as personal, unarticulated vision of single leader, and so adaptable to new opportunities; organization under personal control of leader and located in protected niche in environment; strategies relatively deliberate but can emerge.
The emergence of x MOOCs revealed that emergent strategy does not have to mean that management is out of control, especially under an institutional learning ecology, only that it is necessary for the institution to remain open, flexible and responsive to the learners’ needs, in order to thrive in developing courses aligning to the changing needs of society and learners.
The institutions are drawing a clear line between the x MOOCs and courses formally delivered in the institutions as mentioned here, so they could still maintain control over accreditation and award of qualifications.
All of these MOOC platforms appear to justify their status by promoting curricula that are equivalent to campus-based courses, with a strong focus on content delivery and an emphasis on the rigor and formality of their assessment methods. However, some of the most interesting and innovative practices in online education have emerged by challenging these very ideas; loosening institutional control of learning outcomes and assessment criteria, shifting from a focus on content delivery to a foregrounding of process, community and learning networks, and working with more exploratory assessment methods – digital and multimodal assignments, peer assessment and group assignments, for example.
In summary, most institutions are still running with deliberate strategies (with good to best practice) rather than emergent strategies (with emergent to novel practice). I don’t think institutions would want surprises or failures. However, it is likely to happen in x MOOCs, when there is lack of “motivation”, skills, time among the learners to complete the course. This could be an issue especially when dealing with large number of dropouts, lurkers, or even learners who may not meet the standards required to complete the course.
That seems to be the challenges facing institutions when running x MOOCs alongside their mainstream courses too.
What are some of the latest initiatives in MOOC?
In this post New course initiatives ranging from a Connectivist approach as referred by Stephen: “The new course, “A Gentle Introduction to Python,” will blend content from M.I.T.’s OpenCourseWare, instant-feedback exercises and quizzes from Codecademy, and study groups organized by OpenStudy, and will be coordinated through an e-mail list operated by Peer 2 Peer University.”
This sounds interesting as it is automating the MOOCs with a “mechanical base” with minimum intervention by the “instructor”. This seems close to the idea of Robot Professor as mentioned here in Singularity University upgrade.
University of Maine PI launches open learning initiative.
A learner organised MOOC spins out of MITx has likely caught the institutions by surprise.
What sort of pedagogy are involved in a closed and open system? Jon provides a wonderful summary that contrasts between the connectivist (c MOOC) versus constructivism (task, projects, activity based MOOC) versus instructivism (x MOOC, like Coursera, Udacity, edX etc.). What are the merits and limitations with each pedagogy? See this post on three kinds of MOOCs by Lisa Lane. Refer to this post on pedagogy and challenges of MOOC.
What are my outstanding questions?
Has MOOC become the game changer in higher education? Yes? Would Online education replace college education? Not yet, as the author argues.
Here is my recent post that relates to the challenges and issues of x MOOCs. There are concerns about quality of the courses developed, as highlighted in this post relating to the cancellation of a course with Udacity.
Finally, What is the goal of education?
“The goal of education is not mastery of subject matter, but of one’s person.” We need a deep approach to learning, not a surface and or strategic approach to learning, especially in our goals of higher education. That will also require a new paradigm of knowledge.
Photo credit: Google image.
Are we designing education for people? Let’s wait and see.