This is an update of my previous post.
Is MOOC the solution to future learning, especially online education and learning in Higher Education?
Our past experience with MOOC has interesting results. There are huge potential in its use, though there are still lots of challenges as I would like to share “our views” and experiences below:
I think this depends on what sort of knowledge that we are referring to.
Is learning related to the transfer, transmission or replication of information or knowledge in MOOC? This has been an interesting debate in previous CCKs and there is still no absolute answer to this. From what I could sense and experience, learning is AN EXPERIENCE WITH THINKING AND REFLECTION and might be embedded in a conversation, an activity, a problem, a project, or reading and commenting. It may be unintentional as cited by Stephen, especially when learning relates to higher order, critical thinking and reflective learning. It emerges out of the conversation, and would likely take up a pattern as shown in the COW cartoon in previous post. It is not easily predictable, as the emerging knowledge would change over time, based on the interaction and engagement amongst the networkers.
So, there are differences in views and understanding of the concept of knowledge and learning within a complex learning environment (epistemology and ontology), amongst academics, scholars, researchers, educators and learners. Even more challenging would be whether such learning are “best” based on one of the below approaches and theories.
Photo credit: from George Siemens
The first challenge is: Should the learning design of MOOC be based on Cognitivism, Constructivism, Social Constructivism, Situated Learning and/or Connectivism?
For me, MOOC is an experimental educational and learning model simulating the education and learning on and through the Web, Internet, Networks (Learning and Social Networks) and Communities. Here learning by individuals are based on the navigation, creation and building of networks and such “information nodes” and knowledge webs are the basis of the Personal Learning Environment (PLE).
Depending on the needs, experience and capabilities (competence in certain domains and capacity in forming learning networks), an individual would consume and or create “information, knowledge, wisdom” through the MOOC, which would also be part of an ongoing educational and learning experience on the web and internet, and or within educational institutions.
So, I think the notion of course in an MOOC is to set up the boundaries upon which certain purpose, goals and learning outcomes are to be achieved, with the content and process established in the initial course design, within or outside educational institutions. Whether such goals and outcomes are shared by the course participants in an MOOC are however, nuanced as the emergence of the course often shifted the course goals towards those likely shared and adopted by some of the participants. Connective learning occurs where the course and networks intersected and fused to form an adaptive learning system, which keeps changing its shape and structure as the participants interact and engage with the networks, leading to new understanding of networked learning within an MOOC.
Once people have built their PLN, would they more likely move on to (Massive Open Online Network (MOON ), or the Massive Open Educational Community Networks (MOECN)? These networks and communities are often a continuation of connective and collaborative inquiry and conversation after the MOOCs. Such learning and community networks are often not bound by timelines, fixed schedules of topics designated by course or network organiser or facilitators. The participants of post MOOCs would likely form their own COPs (Community of Practices) or NOPs (Network of Practices) and develop along different trajectories. The topics of interests are most likely relating to current news or trends that relate to education and learning, technology and tools, education economy, and the implications resulting from the emergent technologies and education.
As shared in my previous post, learning via MOOC is like using the social media and technology (the goose) to enhance teaching and learning. Here the goose would bear golden eggs (as artifacts and PLNs). It’s the process of development of eggs inside the womb of the goose, and hatching of the eggs to give birth to another baby goose that constitute the learning.
Would a structured course like that offered in Stanford University on AI also be called a MOOC? They have even got instructor’s resource here. Lisa shared her views here and Rebecca shared her views here. George welcome the MOOC. It seems that the views are pretty divided. Whether such a course is a MOOC seems to be perceived quite differently using different lenses, by educators and learners, as discussed here.
I think MOOC could equally be defined with an AI course, where openness (open access) is achieved – that is, it is open to the public for registration, only that it may not be absolutely free of charge (as you need to buy the text, or else you have to borrow such texts from library or peer learners). The course does require some requisite knowledge and skills that may be a challenge for those who haven’t got enough skills to learn through.
The answers to some of the problems as set off in the AI course may also be well known in advance, based on prescriptive knowledge, and so diversity of opinions may not be the answers to the problem.
Learner autonomy might be compromised if the designed quiz, assignments and examinations are catered only for those who followed the pre-determined learning pathways. So, what would be the reactions of participants who have accustomed to the connectivist learning approach – where diversity, autonomy, openness and connectivity within learning networks is emphasized?
The second challenge would be whether structured education and learning is better suited to learners to semi-structured education and learning, in the case of MOOC. How much structure should a MOOC or MOOOC has?
My interests have shifted to research on the design of the MOOC/MOOCC (Massive Open Online Connectivist Course) as proposed by Edgar. I reckon structured MOOC would attract learners who are more accustomed to “structured facilitation and assessments”.
How about Community – Colleges? Would MOOC be a feasible solution?
This Community-College students perform worse online than face to face tells a different story. MOOC within such environment could be difficult and challenging, both for instructors and learners. Lisa has already shared her views here.
Would participants of previous MOOCs still be doing more MOOC or MOOCC? Let’s wait and see.
The MOOC is surely on a big move since Khan Academy, University of People, Stanford University and MITx joined the massive education movement.
What are the impacts of MOOC on educators and learners?
David comments here:
“I am a college professor and am interested in the MOOC phenomenon primarily because it seems to have the potential to reduce demand for college professors. If Stanford can award hundreds of thousands of degrees online, why would anyone go to a lesser ranked institution (e.g., Iowa State U., where I work)?”
In the short term, educators may feel the “powerlessness” of change in the education process, when MOOC are directly affecting their own job, as learners may choose to learn with various providers or educators throughout the web. That is the reality. What are the options that one could consider?
Would MOOC disrupt the education and learning in formal setting?
Stephen provides an unique perspective on the rise of MOOC. ” It’s about actually empowering people to develop and create their own learning, their own education. So not only do they not depend on us for learning, but also, their learning is not subject to our value-judgements and prejudices…. It’s about reducing and eventually eliminating the learned dependence on the expert and the elite – not as a celebration of anti-intellectualism, but as a result of widespread and equitable access to expertise.”
I think this is also addressing the core values of re-thinking and re-shaping in education (MOOC as an experiment), in order to ensure that our education and learning is based upon a transformation basis, where learners could develop themselves based on their needs and potential, whilst accessing a wide spectrum of expertise available on the networks and webs. This is significant as never in history have learners been able to be connected to so many sources of information, knowledge and “wisdom” (experts, knowledgeable others, networks, OERs, and universities resources). When connected through the MOOC (or MOON as mentioned above), we could not only overcome the tyranny of physical spaces and time in education and learning, but also the limitation of accreditation of learning within formal education setting. The movement towards getting badges in online informal learning is still under debates.
Open badges seem to provide lots of benefits, as an alternative form of certification and accreditation in Higher and Further Education. “The result: helping people of all ages learn and display 21st century skills, unlock career and educational opportunities, and find new life pathways.”
David Wiley posted here on why universities would be the biggest awarder of badges. David remarks that learning outcome-aligned badges (LOBs) is a move in which both the institution and the learner win. Rita Kop responded here with stuff badges.
Assessment and the award of badges is an interesting area where MOOC would need to address. I have reflected here on the significance of assessment and accreditation within a MOOC ecology. Jenny and her colleagues have developed assessment and certificate in their first MOOC. Professor Curt Bonk would also be offering his MOOC with badges. The course will be free and open to anyone with Web access.
George summarises different views and reflects on the significance of MOOC – MOOC on the win. He says “In education, there are many points of innovation in response to global trends: open education resources, internationalization, joint partnerships with universities in developing economies, adoption of new technology, and new pedagogical models.”
I think MOOC is just one of the catalyst in steering into innovation in education and learning, where all education stakeholders, educators and learners could become change champions in their course of learning journey, leading their networks and communities to continuous improvement, and a more innovative and creative economy that benefits the netizens and community networkers.