What pedagogy suits best with MOOC?

Here is my response to Lisa’s post You-say-mooc-we-dont-anymore :

Wonderful too to think deeper into the way Lisa’s class was structured. I am wondering if the multi-pedagogy would co-exist in a MOOC, as such pedagogy would evolve as the class progresses. New set of values and expectations may also emerge as learners develop competency and capability, allowing a number of pedagogy be adopted at different times, in response to the actual needs of learners and educators. I think the past MOOCs (c MOOCs) have influenced some of the educators’ beliefs in pedagogy, though instructivism is still the predominant belief of teaching as a pedagogy – to ensure mastery learning is achieved.
This is apparent in the x MOOCs, where the professors’ teaching is the basis of the course.

As Lisa said, there is an instructivist core as the curriculum is set. That is both rational and legitimate to ensure the learning outcomes are achieved, based on the instructors’ instruction and guidance. That is one of the major responsibilities of educators in ensuring the focus of learning (in terms of learning outcomes, and performance achievement – under competency based education and training).

What could be challenging for educators in a MOOC is to understand that instructivism would not be perfect when dealing with hundreds or thousands of learners. However, that has become a myth when x MOOCs are introduced, when machine-grading are coupled with video lectures, leading to the belief that mass education could be tackled through “semi-automation” in education and teaching.

I have elaborated on the issues and challenges in mass education based on such approach in my latest post.

Thanks again for Lisa’s great insights.


Is mass education the solution to Future Education?

What are some of the issues of mass education, based on video lectures or lectures in Future Education?

In this who-would-choose-a-lecture-as-their-primary-mode-of-learning? by Jackie Gerstein, Ed.D.


Along with surveying students about their preferences, educators are examining best classroom practices. Eric Mazur, a Harvard Physics professor, has been promoting the removal of  lectures from the college classroom.

In 1990, after seven years of teaching at Harvard, Eric Mazur, was delivering clear, polished lectures and demonstrations and getting high student evaluations for his introductory Physics 11 course, populated mainly by premed and engineering students who were successfully solving complicated problems. Then he discovered that his success as a teacher “was a complete illusion, a house of cards.”

The epiphany came via an article in the American Journal of Physics by Arizona State professor David Hestenes. He had devised a very simple test, couched in everyday language, to check students’ understanding of one of the most fundamental concepts of physics—force—and had administered it to thousands of undergraduates in the southwestern United States. Astonishingly, the test showed that their introductory courses had taught them next to nothing,  After a semester of physics, they still held the same misconceptions as they had at the beginning of the term. (http://harvardmagazine.com/2012/03/twilight-of-the-lecture/)

This is part of a movement as Physicists Seek To Lose The Lecture As Teaching

To a certain degree, flipping the classroom, mass lecture videos would deliver high quality education to all those needed, both in face to face and online classes, especially when they are delivered by world renounced super professors who are highly knowledgeable in their fields.  In terms of the content of the course, it is also produced with top quality.  In terms of video production, again, if they are well planned, scripted and presented, they are of the supreme quality in the delivery of content.  In theory, these educational resources should be highly effective in teaching the students, and thus achieve the learning outcomes.  This is based on the assumption that learners would learn best through the best teachers, using clear exposition, and demonstration of skills required in a step-by-step manner in the teaching process.

However, if we reflect on what might have happened in the distance education at the eighties and nineties, or even by viewing the videos as shown in the education and University channels on Youtube, Blip.tv etc. nowadays, we seem to have more than enough high quality education videos available for teaching and learning.

So, the problem does not lie with the lack of good educational resources, or even lecture videos, but the lack of something else.

What is it?

Is it a lack of motivation among students to learn?

Is it a lack of understanding of concepts by the students after watching the videos?

Is it a problem with the pedagogy as a way of instruction?

Is it due to the disruption of technology?

Is it due to the lack of attention by the students?

Is it due to the boring content presented in the videos?

Is it due to a lack of discipline of study or learning by the learners at school or in online classes?

These are NOT the products of instructivism.  Are they?

It seems that we still believe that teaching works best in our traditional learning environment by TEACHING the students.

George explains how Connectivism works in MOOC here.

Relating to the examples citing on coherence by George Siemens, here is the video.

So, how to rectify such misconception among students?

As George explained, the mistake made by the graduates wasn’t due to the incorrect instructional methods.  It was the lack of coherence by the students that would have led to the errors.

I still remember the text book illustrating the four seasons in my primary school education.  The explanation of the four seasons was simply wrong in the first place. If I answered in the examination what the textbook had taught me, I would be awarded full marks at the time.  However, the answer at the time was incorrect.

Would those students be taught again with similar concepts in their university studies, using similar text, or explained to them by the university professors in the same way? I am not sure.

However, it seems that graduates would answer the questions based on the pre-conceived concepts they probably might have learnt through textbooks, or taught by their teachers sometime in schools, and so would answer with great confidence, on what they believe to be right.  This probably is the result of learning where the learners would not have spent time in further checking of the source of evidence and information.  This way of learning has probably led to the wrong beliefs, and concepts formed by the students.

See this four seasons on wikipedia on the explanation.

Another explanation from Youtube.

Let’s see some of the explanation of the differences in education and learning in different countries.

I have discussed this in my previous post here.

Are you convinced why some methods (like Khan Academy) would probably be “problematic” in educating students, through such MASS EDUCATION?  Giving  students the correct answers strict away may sound a good instructional approach towards teaching.  However, have the students learnt how to arrive to those calculations?  Have the students mastered the concepts CORRECTLY?  How do we know if the students could apply their skills and transfer them from one area to another, in solving problems?

Here is another video that would provoke our critical thinking about video teaching.

Is mass education the solution to Future Education?  I still have to think more about it.  Personalized education and learning may suit us better.  But is it possible?  How about x MOOCs?  I would explore it in coming posts.

What do you think?

Postscript: A critique on x MOOC – Udacity