A reflection of MOOC

I enjoyed Tony Karrer’s post on informal learning technology & conversation with Paul .
As a participant and researcher of CCK08, a participant in various MOOC of CCK09 and the current CritLit2010, may I share some thoughts about informal learning?
We (Jenny, Roy and I) had conducted research in CCK08 and you would be able to find them in my post of the Ideals and Reality of Participating in a MOOC.
Would informal/formal learning work in formal courses? Is self-directed or organised learning working in MOOC? How would it work?

I have tried part of what I have learnt from MOOC in my work, which was based mainly on face to face teaching, coupled with Moodle as a repository of resources, together with some introduction to PLE, and I am still reflecting on some initial findings.  So far, I have found it rewarding to try some of the ideas: VLE, PLE, but it would be too early to draw my conclusions on what might be the best way to apply a connectivist approach towards learning with (MOOC) in my own teaching.
If one purposely designs activities for professionals and educators or learners, then it may help the learners to start with learning on some particular aspect or  topic of a course.
However would this help in building the enthusiasm and motivation required for MOOC in the long run? What happens if there are little or no further moderation or connections amongst the instructors and participants? How do we know if the activities designed are suitable for the participants or not?  What happens if the activities are not fully relevant to the educators or learners’ needs, either personally or that at work?  What are the feedback mechanisms?
I don’t think there is  a panacea in addressing this MOOC design and delivery challenge, as it really depends on the responses to questions such as:
  1. What are the motivation of instructors in such MOOC?
  2. What are the motivations of participants participating in a MOOC? What are their needs and expectations?  How would their needs and expectations be fulfilled?
  3. What are the design and delivery (content and process) which attract the participants?
  4. What sort of knowledge, learning and “connections” would such MOOC provide?
  5. What are the roles of instructors and learners in the MOOC?
  6. Would scale be a factor to be considered in MOOC?
  7. What would be the limiting size of a MOOC?
  8. What are the assessment criteria for the MOOC?
  9. How will the MOOC be assessed and evaluated, both by the instructors and participants?
  10. What value will a MOOC add to instructors, learners and institute?
My experience and reflection:
What made MOOC “ticked” is not the qualification – the credit nature, (though there might be learners taking course for credit purpose), but the emergent learning resulting from peer “teaching”, “mentoring” and learning, and the instructors provision of a learning environment (network) where participants could learn and experiment together.  It is the curiosity of learning and “aha! moment” which would stimulate the instructors and participants to raise the learning to a higher level in a course, thus releasing the potentials of the participants in their further quest for learning challenges.   Besides, it would be imperative to have some aggregations coming from the course instructors and or participants.  The Daily from Stephen and Rita did help in providing valuable sources of information for further aggregation and sharing.
From: Flickr
Here PLE functions would help in the “self organised nature of networked learning” amongst the participants and instructors when they:
  • Aggregate
  • Remix
  • Repurpose
  • Feed forward
Educators have got lots of experience and knowledge to share.  It is the ecology (learning environment) that would build up the learning, where educators (instructors and participants) could openly share their experience, build and bounce their ideas and experience that would enhance their learning.  There is also a need for having useful and valuable resources for educators to access, to study and reflect, and share and discuss on the salient points or topics that are of interests to them.  It is not a one-off connection, or one-off conversation that would lead to the emergent learning.  It requires revitalisation of focus and topic of interests from both the instructors and participants to keep the momentum of the network.
This is where I am up to.  More reflection forthcoming.
What do you think are the important factors to be considered in MOOC?
I will refer to Stephen’s post here for more reflection.

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