Matt said in his confessions on MOOC: “To me, the advantage of taking a course is that you get to interact with the instructor or some other type of subject matter expert – and they are the ones that help you focus on what you need to be learning.” I could think in similar lines when it comes to teacher education, where students are normally looking for interaction with instructors and subject matter experts for learning. Even I was educated in this mode of training throughout my previous postgraduate education and training courses. So, such courses are fine for “teacher training” in classroom environments. However, how often are we (you) being challenged by the teachers or subject experts? Probably, not much at all! Why? My understanding is that most formal teacher training is about teaching techniques, strategies, but not much about peer-to-peer teaching or learning. How to connect with ideas, and connect with others might be learnt through action learning, networking, and they probably can’t be “taught” even by experts, or knowledgeable others, IMHO. Would that explain why we (Matt, and me too) find it so difficult to establish such connections with others in MOOC – PLENK?
One of the oriental education and teaching paradigms (from Confucius, from my memory) is: “Where there are three persons walking together, there will be a teacher for me”. I found this paradigm quite significant in MOOC – CCK08, when I learned together with Jenny Mackness and Roy Williams on various occasions. We had then become close colleagues and friends and worked on the Research post CCK08, with papers co-written here and here and the development of our research wiki. So, I think my learning wasn’t confined to the learning about the course content (of Connectivism, CritLit) itself. Here is my teaching and learning in CCK08 and Knowledge of how people learn which mapped out what I perceived as learning in MOOC. My learning has also been extended to the conversation and connections with those other experts and knowledgeable others who share similar interests and passions. These included networks on Facebook and Twitters.
The alternative perspective on MOOC by Jim here referred to the dojo model for student organised learning. To what extent would it be applicable in an online learning environment? I think it requires a lot of self organised learning to work.
Stephen says in his OLDaily:
It’s about attitude and approach. If you’re looking for someone to tell you how it works, you will find a MOOC confusing and frustrating. But if you take responsibility for your own learning, you will find any connection in a MOOC either an opportunity to teach or an opportunity to learn. No instructions necessary.
(2) Online networked learning involves a paradigm shift in “thinking” and “learning” that is non-linear and often mediated by the technology, tools and actors. This “pattern” of learning seems to align more initially with that of toddlers’ learning (the social constructivism where games and play – do help in the construction of certain knowledge domains” but then would gradually align with a connectivist approach, as it goes beyond the “definition” of knowledge and learning, as such knowledge and learning becomes natural part of the day-to-day conversation, interaction, (engagement in activities that are based on the interests of the actors), self-initiated (not governed), autonomous and self-chosen connections, without boundary on the “knowledge domain”. It may be hyper linked to various websites and artefacts, and are often virtual or online space-driven, and could be multi-focus, and multi-directional. Surfing over such information highway would require the aggregation of ideas and information in the networks, collect those distribution information which may be of interest to us, through RSS or hashtags, or aggregation tools. It could further be curated, refined by the nodes through reviews, amplification and damping, leaving the “residues” as emergent knowledge concepts, and so actions as emergent learning within the networks and amongst the networkers.
(3) Networked knowledge and Learning could be both structured and un-structured, which is really a matter of personal experience and preference. For those who are accustomed to structured online learning, MOOC could be a huge challenge, as it is “designed” to simulate the real world wide web, and the various features of “hyper linked” cyber and online world, which is based on un-or ill-structured webs (though the webs are structured, but they are not perfectly linked to each other in a structured way), and even such links are in a continuous flux, due to the changes in the inter-connections. This gives rise to complicated/complex ontology which has no defined structure, or even pattern. These sort of informal learning pattern may not be consistent with the institution and corporate world of “structured formal” learning and education. As revealed in this article about Complexity Theory and Education, it is difficult to leverage complexity theory in formal education and learning.
We suggest that instead of expecting or pursuing participation as a kind of utopian ideal, a less tyrannical alternative is to anticipate that participation will be disruptive and encompass difference and variety, in a way that reflects a heterotopian rather than utopian view of participation.