Life Long Learning and MOOCs

See this research in the 90s Problem based and self-directed education on lifelong learning

In the MU curriculum students learn through inquiry to set clear learning objectives from the study of health care problems and from early contact with patients. Students must identify areas of deficiency in their own performance, find appropriate educational resources, critically appraise these resources, evaluate personal learning progress and apply newly acquired knowledge and skills in solving patient problems.

Yes, we all are involved in lifelong learning, and many of us would like to use problem based and self-directed education programs (offered by others) or self-directed, self-paced learning programs (i.e. we developed them for ourselves) to keep up with the knowledge advancement and technological changes.

In this social software for life-long learning:

effective and efficient learning need to be individualized – personalized and adapted to the learner’s preferences, acquired competences, and evolving knowledge, as well as to the current context. Adaptive learning systems keep the information about the user in the learner model and based on it they provide certain adaptation effects. Based on the information about the learner and the current context an appropriate educational method should be chosen, which uses suitable learning activities that reference proper learning materials.  This process is usually accompanied by selection of adequate tutors and co-learners.

This reinforces the importance of personalized and adaptive learning, in the case of life-long learning.

We could all be learning as Ana and Carol mentioned, with various options, and paces, based on our own needs, or changes required in our organisation or environment.

The questions are: How far is such lifelong learning already embedded in an organizational culture? What sort of culture would nurture one’s lifelong learning? Is MOOC a way to complement and supplement such lifelong learning? In what way does it impact on our learning?


What is the driver of these MOOCs movement?  I have shared this in previous post – MISSION, MOOCS AND MONEY.

I see MOOCs as a transition towards opening up Higher Education to different parties – and some may call it fragmentation, whilst others would call it as transformation and disruptive innovation.

The response to these changes seem to lie with FIGHT, DEVELOP or FLIGHT responses, with opponents of MOOCs fighting hard to sustain certain traditional values, and proponents claiming glory towards marketization and transformation, with democratization of Higher Education.

Jonathan says in this post on moocs could be disastrous for students and professors:

Somewhere right now, private companies, university administrators, and/or politicians are already planning an all-MOOC future for most of tomorrow’s college students. Unlike today’s MOOC participants, these future students will have to pay for access to them.

Not too many people might have predicted and thought about the impact of xMOOCs on HE institutions, faculty, professors, learners and community at large. We need debates, discourses, voices of both pro and anti MOOCs to gain a better understanding of their concerns or interests, and what may be some of the better options to overcome those challenges and “wicked problems” faced by Higher Education institutions.

There is now a trend that MOOCs would move on, when all the big 3 players (edX, Coursera, and Udacity) and many other players in other parts of the world (UK, Australia, Europe, Japan, Asia) continue to offer taster MOOCs or experimental MOOCs to test the waters, or that MOOCs providers and HE institutions to reap as much as possible (global students, money, market share etc.) using this golden opportunity.

There are set-backs such as the recent report on San Jose State University Puts MOOC on hold, also shared here.  We need more data to understand the problem and how MOOCs might solve the problem.

Many educators and professors are obviously concerned about their job security and long term prosperity.  Tamar reports in this post: “Most faculty objections arise out of concerns about how online courses impinge on the professor-student relationship — and how they may lead to the privatization of public universities, and the loss of faculty jobs.”

However, this is not just because of MOOCs, but rather systemic and pedagogical issues, where hundred years of traditional model of HE has been challenged by the professors and xMOOCs pioneers themselves. This may be once in a life-time or century opportunity for all stakeholders concerned, including MOOCs, HE institutions, professors, educators, learners, and others like businesses, venture capital firms and investors, philanthropists etc. to exercise their “power”, control over education and learning. Would those win take all?

How would our Higher Education Institutions, faculty, professors and educators and MOOC providers adapt and change in response to these huge flux in the ecology?

Here is my share where I conceive MOOC as an adaptive system and network ecology to the future of Higher Education.

MOOC or not?  That is not A SIMPLE question, BUT THE QUESTION that every Higher Education Institution must answer in the near future.  There is simply no return!

Would the traditional model of education with MASS LECTURES WITH FEW HUNDREDS OF STUDENTS SURVIVE? May be, but may be not with the revolution and tsunami of MOOCs.

What would you see might be the future of Higher Education?