#MOOCMOOC Connectivism – Putting theory into practice

Here is an interesting presentation on Connectivism – its practice in Coursera.

I gladly applaud the group in making such a presentation, putting theory into practice.

There are few questions that I would suggest to explore and reflect upon:

1. In a closed learning management system such as Coursera, how would educators and learners view Connectivism?

2. To me, Connectivism requires openness and autonomy, and most important of all diversity of opinions, in order to leverage connectedness and connectivity.

To what extent would educators and learners feel these important properties of networks be realized and practised in MOOCs such as Coursera?

3. Is personal learning environment, blogs, etc. part of the learning platform, or is it too remote from the institutional based education and learning system?

In previous MOOCs such as CCK08, 09, 11, 12, PLENK, Change11, participants and facilitators co-constructed the platforms and facilitated learning on an ongoing basis, based on self-organising principles, using a distributed learning pedagogy, with learning as open teaching, and teaching as open learning.  Are these realized in other MOOCs such as Coursera?

4. To what extent is learning measurable and evaluated under Coursera, based on Connectivism principles?

5. While the pedagogy adopted by Coursera are based on Behaviorism/Cognitivism (i.e. Bloom’s Mastery Learning), and may be constructivism/social constructivism, how would such pedagogy be interpreted under Connectivism, as I have highlighted in question 2 above?

I am not sure if there are compatibility, congruency or alignment in some of the learning principles when Behaviorism and Cognitivism (where it is principally instruction based) are fitting into a learning philosophy based on Connectivism, with a focus on informal learning and learner using PLE/PLN, self-directed learning, and self-organised learning through tools, media etc.

May be there are many overlaps in the approaches in learning, when we apply Connectivism in a traditional institution education and learning setting.

To this end, I would like to quote (Kop, Fournier and Mak, 2010)

“A challenge associated with the educational use of the Web, social networking, and media, based on the MOOC distributed learning model, is that the open, emergent, chaotic nature of online interaction might conflict with the rigidly organized social structure of formal education, which involves prescriptive learning, standardized goals and curricula, fixed schedules, age-based grouping, classroom-based organization, and examinations. This formal view of education is problematic for professional learning and highlights a tension between learning in everyday life facilitated by emerging technologies and the philosophical stance and the pedagogies adopted by universities.”

I hope to see some of the MOOCs being fully open, though I also understand that there are safety and security issues, and openness challenges that are yet to resolve, in terms of the OER copyright, and the assessment and evaluations that one must address.

I still think if we are to fit square holes with round pegs, then we need to think about why we are fitting it in such a way, and ask if that is how we could “transform” our education system, especially in HE.


Further Questions:

What are the challenges with the current education model?

What sort of education and business model would be ideal and or practicable for MOOCs?

What are the ideologies of MOOCs?

What pedagogy would be most appropriate for the various MOOCs, for educators and learners?

How would MOOCs add values to various stakeholders?

What are the impacts of MOOCs on HE and Universities, professors, and learners?


Kop, R., Fournier, H., Mak, S.F. J. (2011). A Pedagogy of Abundance or a Pedagogy to Support Human Beings? Participant Support on Massive Open Online CoursesThe International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning. Vol 12, No. 7 (2011).