Future of Education and MOOCs

What would be the Future of Education?

George Siemens in his current post on the Future of Education and other imponderables says:
Education can be broken down into numerous areas of functionality:
  • Content and curriculum
  • Teaching and learning
  • Accreditation and assessment
  • Research and dissemination
  • Administration and leadership
The problems of education are mainly economic, but they arise in a context of rapid technological change, so it is hardly surprising that technology is seen as a solution to cure the ills of the system.
I could sense the concerns within HE institutions, where the changes in Higher Education are so rapid that many institutions have to adapt and respond with more innovative approaches.
We see no bright lights on the financial horizon as we face limits on tuition increases, an environment of declining federal support, state support that will be flat at best, and pressures on health care payors.  This means that as an institution, we have to be able to prioritize and reallocate the resources we do have, and that our best avenue for increasing resources will be through passionate articulation of a vision and effective development efforts to support it. We also believe that higher education is on the brink of a transformation now that online delivery has been legitimized by some of the elite institutions.
 There are concerns relating to the future of education, in particular when it relates to the adoption of technology and internet in education and the use of MOOCs.  Would this bring forward the education revolution that some professors have predicted?
1. How will MOOCs make money?  Various ways of making money though MOOCs are discussed there.
One of the more provocative potential business models for MOOCs is to bypass credentialing altogether. Udacity has suggested that it might double as a headhunter for companies that might like to hire some of its more impressive students. Instead of simply selling those students credentials that they can list on their resumes while looking around for jobs, Udacity would offer to match students with companies that have enlisted Udacity as a talent scout. (The company has already hired a full-time jobs counselor to lay groundwork with potential employers.) Udacity would take a commission for each successful match, same as a headhunter.
A sustainable model would need to be based on a fee for service – i.e. requiring a fee for the award of a certificate from the University.  “So far the only revenue stream that the major new MOOC providers have said they will pursue is charging a fee for a certificate.”To what extent would institutions be ready for the development of a business model and plan?  What would be the actual running cost per participant who successfully completed in a MOOC?  These are important considerations for any Higher Institutions, before they would embark on MOOC.
2. How will MOOCs provide credentials for recognition of prior learning and associated assessment? The use of open badges may be one way to recognition of any informal or non-formal learning or studies, together with any formal learning or study through the MOOCs (edX, Couresa, MITx, Udacity, Stanford AI) etc.
3. What pedagogy work best with the MOOCs (edX, Couresa, MITx, Stanford AI) and the connectivist MOOCs?  Is flipping – the classroom with short videos the way and pedagogy to design and deliver such MOOCs?
Throughout the past connectivist MOOCs, participants of MOOC often exhibited learning behavior based on self-organised manners.  This seems to coincide with the OSOSS that David Wiley and Erin Edwards have discussed in this Online Self-Organising Social System:
While none of the existing OSOSS consider themselves learning communities, learning is happening among their users, and happening in an extremely innovative manners.
A distributed expertise model obtains in sufficiently large distributed learning communities, meaning that because expertise exists across the community no individual community member is overly burdened with the primary responsibility for answering questions and providing feedback.
These sort of interactions couldn’t be emphasized more, even in virtual synchronous classroom learning environment as Steve mentions that everyone contributes to the class, leading to positive learning experience.
The move towards more online education and learning, with a MOOC movement seems to be accelerating.
Here I have shared the challenges that we are facing when designing, developing and learning with MOOCs.
The first challenge is: Should the learning design of MOOC be based on Cognitivism, Constructivism, Social Constructivism, Situated Learning and/or Connectivism?
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?
What I conceived would be a trend towards a behaviorist approach towards learning, when the SUPER MOOC approach driven by technology based learning is adopted  (edX, Couresa, MITx, Stanford AI) etc.  Here

Computer technology can provide support to many different educational pedagogies.  Drill and practice software can accelerate behaviorist methods, while the vast amount of knowledge on the Internet furthers the constructivist argument.  Since the knowledge available is both overwhelming, yet fairly easy to attain, creating learners that desire to learn and can acquire knowledge on their own will lead those learners to success.  Learning communities provide a support structure to learners taking this path.

Courses delivered online have student populations that are separated by distance so extra thought is needed to make an online course become a learning community.
What might be the different types of MOOCs offered in future?  
Professor Kurt Bonk brainstormed on a possible list of future MOOCs here.  I think they could be categorized under the following major types:
1. Skills and competency based MOOCs – the Just-in-Time skills could be relevant to those working in industry, while skills achievement are important at work.  The instructivist MOOCs (edX, Couresa, MITx, Udacity, Stanford AI) would likely be the popular MOOCs for learners.
2.  Theory and application based MOOCs – this relates to the development of new and emergent theories, knowledge and possibly applications at work.  The Connectivist MOOCs  (CCKs, PLENK, CritLit, Change11, LAKs) are typical MOOCs.
3. Research based MOOCs – These have been incorporated in the recent Change11 and PLENK.
4. Professional Development based MOOCs- the eportfolio MOOC, eduMOOC, mobiMOOC, FSLT MOOC, and wikieducator.
5. Business and Marketing based MOOCs.
6. Personal interest based MOOCs – these are networks and communities that formed all over different social media, often mediated by and with technologies.
7. Learning and Community based MOOCs – these are a combination of theory and application based and skills and competency based MOOCs.
There are many other types of MOOCs as Kurt mentioned, though I think they would soon converge or amalgamate to a few major MOOCs.
What are the values and implications when more educators and learners are resorting to the use of MOOCs in their courses?  Here I have shared the values of MOOC.
As George stated in his post: “Our goal with the course was to communicate how individuals learn in distributed networks and to do for teaching what MIT’s OCW did for content.”  Each of the course organisers of MOOC must also have their goals in mind.
How these MOOCs are designed and delivered would be based on the goals (or vision and mission) set forth by the organisers.
To this end, I would like to share that education is a never ending process (or business) where the goals are ever changing in this rapid changing world.

12 thoughts on “Future of Education and MOOCs

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