I have one question: What takes precedence in instructional design? Design of performance outcome first from an instructional perspective or a learning perspective (i.e. from the learners’ point of view)?
Most of traditional course design assumes a linear instructional/learning pathway, a mastery learning by drills and practice, to acquire all the knowledge that is decided by the instructor. To what extent is this effective and efficient in an online course such as MOOC?
May be for prescriptive knowledge, yes, and duplication of knowledge by the learners, sure! But when we want to explore why these types of MOOC fail, the problem seems to lie with the interface between what the instructor want and design and what the learners actually want or design.
If I were the learner of the course, I would have designed it for me to learn, straight away, though this assumes that I have the experience and network or mentors/professors that I could work with. Do you wait for the course or instructional designers to design your learning, or should you design your learning? Is that the question, under a connectivist learning paradigm? There is no failure in connectivist learning, only if we fail to connect altogether, or we don’t want to connect. Isn’t it right?
Learning in an online environment is ubiquitous and is no longer bounded by the traditional four walls, MOOCs, or single network or community. It is far more reaching, when one is adopting a connectivist approach towards learning. Unfortunately, it seems that many of us are still struggling with the pedagogy, the pros and cons with all the different approaches, models of learning – in trying to convince each others that one model is better than the other, or that the online is as good as the other offline learning.
Children nowadays are learning with mobiles, likely everyday, without worrying about whether they have used the right design, technology or pedagogy. It may be true that sometimes the learning may be too disruptive to their formal education, and so this does not fit into educator’s model of linear learning, and thus follow instructions by the instructors. Are adults following similar approaches, especially when there are so many ways of learning, via technology and social networks that they could learn with and learn from?
What we may be trying to do with formal courses is to direct learners back to formal models of education and learning. On one hand, there may be a desire to organise education in a linear pathway, so they may be able to achieve all the learning outcomes that we desire them to learn. It seems this sort of paradigm is adopted by the xMOOCs, and the educational philosophy is: learn through me, with me, and you would become competent. Whether this is similar to our traditional lecture format of mass education is still moot, especially when these sort of education is immersed in an open online education and learning environment.
On the other hand, if we are to really transform our education, and make it really customised and adaptive, then we need to strip off the industrialist model of education, where massification of education with lectures, on a didactic mode with “drill, test, drill, test and test” are replaced by adaptive facilitation of learning via networks and COPs, and personal learning networks, coupled with professional learning communities which are open and democratic in nature.
Test and examinations may still be good ways for learning, and accreditation, that is undeniable. However, it is important to realise that testing without real understanding of the subject matters could be an illusion about real learning, and the higher order or deep learning that we wish and aspire to. This has been highlighted by so many professors and educators that we need to keep reminding ourselves on the importance of deep learning, not just rote learning, shallow learning, and testing.
It is not just about learning certain learning outcomes that make learning effective at this digital age, it is about resilience, and preparing ourselves, our professors and learners for the world of the future.