Learning Design and Complexity Science

My response to Jenny’s post on OLDSMOOC Design:

Hi Jenny and Roy,
I agreed with what Roy said, that you are a learning designer if you do all those things in a course, in an adaptive manner. What might typically happened is that instructional designers plan and design the curriculum, with multi-media and gamification in mind, trying to incorporate all the “essential” learning objects and artifacts to achieve the desired education outcomes (the learning outcomes, in the case of a course). The input management – or compliance with lesson plans are typically judged to be excellent when “all elements” of good instruction – like Gagne’s 9 steps of instruction are followed in a classroom environment, or that of mastery learning is followed, with sensory feedback and repeated drills and practice on the learners.

I wonder if we need to separate instruction design from learning design, as the former relates more on instruction (demonstration and modelling), whilst the latter relates more on (practice and reflection) (based on Stephen Downes’ proposed connectivist model), especially when learning is structured under MOOC.

I have been thinking about having learning design based on complexity science where:

“Complexity science, with its focus on emergence, self organization, inter-dependencies, unpredictability and non-linearity provides a useful alternative to the machine metaphor.
Complexity science suggests that the whole is not the sum of the parts. Emergent properties of the whole are inexplicable by the parts.” to study learning design, so each learning scenario needs to be re-modelled based on “grounded research” rather than a prescribed approach to the design of learning.

This might have a lot of similarities to your research on the footprint of emergence, though I think it really makes more sense when the teacher and learner shared their assumptions and frame of reference upon each learning task and experience, and thus making learning design a collaborative reflective experience, rather than a pre-determined learning pathway and learning outcomes.”

This sort of emergent learning could be based on narratives that are exchanged through blog postings and sharing, or project-based learning, between peer-to-peer and student-to-instructor.

Would that account for the differences between curriculum-led MOOC (typical for xMOOC) and community-led MOOC (typical for cMOOC)?

Such MOOC would be similar to the model in the AST1000 Course though I have been thinking of having a community led MOOC, rather than a curriculum led MOOC.


4 thoughts on “Learning Design and Complexity Science

  1. Pingback: Jorge González Alonso (jgonzalonso) | Pearltrees

  2. Here is a response that I would like to respond to Roy’s post.
    Hi Roy, Great to learn about your views on the footprints of emergence, and the designing by negative constraint. ‘Design the facilitation more, and design the structure less’ is resonating. I have reflected on yours comment with my post here https://suifaijohnmak.wordpress.com/2013/01/16/learning-design-and-complexity-science/ I am wondering if a progressive approach in adopting MOOC(i.e. from instructional approach to facilitative approach might be more appealing to apprenticeship MOOCs) whilst a facilitative approach would be appealing to masters/experts MOOCs. This has been revealed in those Hotseats of the Networked Learning Conference as many participants would appreciate sharing of views and experience, rather than being “instructed” by the chair or professors. In the case of xMOOCs, an instructive approach has been adopted upfront. It seems that such an approach could be challenging for xMOOC providers and professors, especially when various other professors or experts are engaged in their MOOCs as “auditors” or LPP (lurkers), in order to gain first hand experience with MOOCs. However, as a matter of mutual respects, most of the comments made by professors or experts would be focused on the issues with light touches, rather than overly critical about the “systems” issues relating to MOOC, or the way some of those issues were handled. Typical system issues that need to be dealt with in xMOOCs include student identity and plagiarism, and how to ensure a professional approach is adopted in responding to feedback or critiques from the stakeholders, other professors, educators and students. Besides, if the course is technical in nature, there are concerns that the “blind may be leading the blind” especially if the “groups” of MOOC participants are all novice to the topic. Besides, it seems that we are sharing our views on cMOOCs and xMOOCs, whereas at times, it would be important to identify which sort of MOOCs we are referring to, before we could come up with an adequate critique. John

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