What would the future education be like? Would it be based on a learning platform where the community of learners learn together, based upon their goals, and their social needs?
As reported in this MIT initiative:
“M.I.T. said its new learning platform should eventually host a virtual community of learners around the world — and enhance the education of M.I.T.’s on-campus students, with online tools that enrich their classroom and laboratory experiences.
The development of the new platform will be accompanied by an M.I.T.-wide research initiative on online teaching and learning, including grading by computer.
And because the M.I.T.x platform will be available free to people around the world, M.I.T. officials said they expected that other universities would also use it to offer their own free online courses. Mr. Reif said that M.I.T. was investing millions of dollars in the project, and that it expected to raise money from foundations and others.”
In reflection, MOOC could be the ideal new learning platform which would host such a virtual community of learners around the world. This is also the start of their research initiative on online teaching and learning, where we once have undergone in our past MOOCs, and is undertaking in this Change11 MOOC. Wouldn’t it be interesting to see such pattern of massive online course design, delivery with teaching and learning is now being replicated and amplified in Stanford University and MIT initiatives?
I would speculate that their research would tend to go with the scaling up based on automated assessment (grading by computer) and a shift towards more personalisation of learning once communities and networks of learners are built and formed, as more learners would interact with each others, thus forming clusters, groups, collectives, and networks around their focus of interests of study, and beyond, like the MOOC.
If my assumptions are correct, then what happens next would likely be similar to the scenarios that we had in a few years ago (in 2008), with the CCK08, (and CCK09, CCK11) experience, where participants were excited to share their learning and knowledge, especially in their own specialist fields in the subject domain. This would then be developed in the community members of (AI course) in Stanford University and MIT. There could be some differences though, as the approaches of teaching with Stanford University and MIT are still institutionally based, meaning that there would be fixed curriculum and structured course learning outcomes and standardized assessments and tasks.
My experience with young adults and learners also revealed that younger learners are generally more competitive as compared to older adults, educators and learners, one “upmanship” as one would call, in order to stay ahead of their colleagues and senior educators and learners. This creates a very interesting learning environment, where younger learners are more eager to have their voices, perspectives heard in the open media and spaces. This could also lead to a proliferation of the creation of artefacts, as young learners are more curious, and more “creative” in such production, in order to display their talents, and their comprehension and application of knowledge. This would also provide opportunities for the more experienced educators and senior learners to learn with these young learners in the networks, and to provide support or coaching where appropriate.
Young learners also tended to acquire a qualification in the process of such learning, as that would allow them to look for jobs upon graduation from the course. So their desire to learn may be very different from the life-long and life-wide senior learners who would like to learn more based on their passion, and their interests.
I would like to re-quote my summary in previous post here:
“In summary, MOOCs could be designed with different pedagogy, based on different target educators and learners, and would still serve their purposes. In the long run, I would see a transitional period of pedagogy from traditional behavioural, cognitive and social constructivist moving towards a more emergent, connectivist and open sourced education ecology, with all pedagogy compensating for each others’ weaknesses, and a learner-centred approach supported by both education authorities, educators and learners coming into fruition, and community as alternative basis of education.”
Due to the complexity of education and learning, no one could predict precisely what would have happened to these initiatives. However, based on our collective wisdom, it seems that we could easily predict that outcomes – more learners would embark on this journey if it is offered free (free of charge in particular) and are available in open spaces – especially when the learning environment is open, where learners are allowed to exercise their autonomy, where diversity of opinions is valued and connectivity is enhanced through a structured course of study, in an institutional environment or a network environment, where recognition could come in various forms – accreditation, certification, or a mere badge indicating that they have such an online experience.
This relates back to my previous post on From Digital Pedagogy to Netagogy, where professors, researchers, technologists, designers, educators and learners in the world all want to explore this whole new “complex” and emergent learning system and ecology, in order to create and disseminate knowledge, and in building knowledge nations and global communities.
These require research, creativity and collaboration in the academy.