This is my final part of the series, where I try consolidating some of the conversations around MOOCs.
Dominik says in his post on MOOC:
Connectivist MOOCs seem to produce proportionately as many reports of confusion and demotivation among their participants as the more impersonal extension MOOCs. They certainly don’t see many fewer drop outs (which would perhaps be better called drop offs).
I don’t think our MOOC which combines features of both c and xMOOCs with traditional online and blended learning, is any more successful at this than any other form of education.
My response to Dominik’s post could be represented in my views here.
Drop out in MOOC
Drop out in MOOC is an issue, but also an opportunity to reflect and learn with.
Challenges with MOOCs
There are many challenges with MOOCs, with x MOOCs at the moment.
In this post on Coursera Fantasy by Laura Gibbs, she elaborates on the issues that need to be addressed:
1. Anonymous posting makes a toxic discussion board
2. Coursera is unresponsive to student requests for help and information
3. Work for the class not intended to have any lasting value
I think these issues centered around the need of a supportive, adaptive and responsive (quick response) learning environment that may not be easily achieved when the course is structured around an instructivist approach
If we were to adopt an instructivist approach in x MOOCs, what might be our emphasis? What would it lead to?
Would it be a teacher-approach towards education? As more and more students are expecting responses to their questions, what would they resort to? Discussion board sounds an ideal way to share information and knowledge, but as Laura said, anonymous posting could be a big issue in such forums. How would one rectify the situation?
As discussed in the past CCKs, one of the ways to enhance and support learning in MOOC would be to have a distributed approach towards learning, through aggregated discussion, where “self-organised” groups would be encouraged and supported, and individual and inter-dependent learners and bloggers are also connected through different ways or platforms.
The following model which would be offered in a future course sounds useful in aggregating and integrating the Learning resources, Interaction tools and Personal blogs etc. It could be helpful in tackling the issue 1 highlighted by Laura.
More facilitators, TAs and peer-mentors may also be needed in order to resolve some of the critical issues on the lack of responses to help or information, on an just-in-time, “just for me” basis if we are to further improve the xMOOCs.
Motivation in MOOC
Before I could reflect on the motivation aspects of MOOC (based on the high drop out), I would like to ask:
Why are the students NOT MOTIVATED in their education journey? What would really help and support them (our fellow educators and learners) in education?
Do we remember we all have once been students? The feedback from MOST OF MY STUDENTS are that many of them want to learn with their educators and THEIR PEERS, if given the opportunity. They like to feel valued, and respected in their learning, and not being spoon-fed by their teachers with the “knowledge” based on a transmission model.
There are exceptions, when many young students and some adult learners who really struggle in their learning, and would need more guidance and “teaching”.
However, trying to tell or “teach” our learners all the “information and knowledge” that is necessary to pass a course would not only deter them from further growth and development in learning, but also take away their opportunities to experience the joys and “risks” associated with learning online and over the networks.
If we want to repeat history, it’s not too late. We might be able to learn all the facts by what we used to learn, by rote learning, or by regurgitating what our teachers have taught us. Why not?
What are we now heading towards in this MOOC movement? May be we need the instructivist approach for those who need a helping hand, especially when they haven’t got the skills and knowledge to embark into the LEARNING ONLINE journey. However, should we still keep telling students what to do, and how to do, without considering the actual needs and expectations, and most important of all motivation of these students (or participants of MOOC)?
Here is a post on Connected learning – the power of social learning models.
Here is a summary that I would like to refer to:
Connected Learning “is an answer to three key shifts as society evolves from the industrial age of the 20th century and its one-size-fits-all factory approach to educating youth to a 21st century networked society.”
1) A shift from education to learning. Education is what institutions do, learning is what people do. Digital media enable learning anywhere, anytime; formal learning must also be mobile and just-in-time.
2) A shift from consumption of information to participatory learning. Learning happens best when it is rich in social connections, especially when it is peer-based and organized around learners’ interests, enabling them to create as well as consume information.
3) A shift from institutions to networks. In the digital age, the fundamental operating and delivery systems are networks, not institutions such as schools, which are one node of many on a young person’s network of learning opportunities. People learn across institutions, so an entire learning network must be supported.