Measurement of effectiveness of cMOOCs

Here is my response to Christina’s post on difficulties researching cmoocs.

How to measure the effectiveness of a cMOOC?

There are 4 semantic conditions of networks that Stephen Downes has proposed. As Stephen has commented, those properties – openness, diversity, autonomy and connectedness & interactivity is not perfect in cMOOCs. Besides Connectivism as applied in cMOOCs could likely best be based on an informal learning, rather than a traditional institutional model.

I have reiterated that the constraints typically imposed with an institutional model would be huge challenge for administrators and educators to adapt, as is witnessed even in xMOOCs, where a totally new approach (such as flipping the class or flipped learning) as perceived by professors would be at odds with the mass lecture approach typical in mass-education, with a broadcasting model. How to overcome those challenges, and ensure learning is more effective, when cMOOCs are embedded in an institutional model?

Here is my response  that I perceive as a way to measure the effectiveness of cMOOCs – in its

1. awareness of Networked Learning and Connectivism as an “informal learning paradigm”,

2. an adoption and leveraging of the 4 properties- openness, diversity, autonomy and connectedness & interactivity when networking,

3. an achievement of personal goals with immersion in the network and community (and community of practice) on personal basis,

4. adoption of Personal Learning Environment and Network PLE/PLN in pursuit of life-long learning, and

5. a shift of frame of reference and paradigm from knowledge transmission to knowledge sharing and creation model under a knowledge ecology.

John Mak

What sort of education do you envision for our coming generation?

I have been wondering about the sort of education that would truly transform the world of education and learning of the future.

Here in this post referred by Stephen Downes,  Neil Butcher says:

we are primarily harnessing the innovation of OER predominantly to reproduce content-heavy, top-down models of education that were developed hundreds of years ago to meet the needs of societies in the aftermath of the industrial revolution, models in which the student is still primarily a passive ‘consumer’ of educational content whose main task is to complete standardised assessment tasks in order to receive accreditation.

Thus, the urgent imperative – and the real transformative potential of OER and MOOCs – is to evolve new systems of education that can help our societies, and especially our youth, to navigate their way through a world in which the disruption wreaked by information and communication technologies requires a completely new approach to knowledge, skills and competence.

So, what sort of education model of knowledge and learning should we be envisioning?

Stephen says: “This is what I would like to see with our connectivist MOOCs but it takes time and has to be built from the ground up.”  Couldn’t agree more.

What is most significant is a shift from a transmission of knowledge to an active participative and engaging model of knowledge sharing, development and creation, in between learners, learners and knowledgeable others, teacher(s), scholars and experts in the field, so teachers, learners and the resources and networks are interconnected.  This would then provide a real break-through in education, in particular in Higher Education, where learners’ potential are fully developed together with their co-learners and teachers.

This is elaborated in this paper referred to by Keith Hamon:

Theory R assumes not that students’ heads are empty but that they are full. The primary instructional challenge, then, is not to transfer new knowledge but to help students reorganize existing knowledge to make it more useful, consistent, or true and to supplement it with insights and skills that will help explain more fully what they already know.… Students in Theory R classrooms must be active processors of information. Theory T emphasizes recall; Theory R requires students to engage in every known thought process. … Theory R requires students to make connections, to perceive relationships, and to synthesize ideas. It sends students searching the far corners of their minds without regard for the artificial, arbitrary boundaries imposed by academic disciplines.

See more at:

I have shared some of the fundamental shifts in the envisioning and pedagogy in future education model here:

To me, MOOCs (x MOOCs) are still bounded by the constraints of what the students need to know, and so they are expected to respond to the questions posted by the teachers, as that is part of the curriculum of the course.  As pointed out by Williams, et al 2012: ”The curriculum has become more instrumental, predictive, standardized, and micro-managed in the belief that this supports employability as well as the management of educational processes, resources, and value. Meanwhile, people have embraced interactive, participatory, collaborative, and innovative networks for living and learning.”

The real revolution that we might anticipate in education would be a paradigm shift where education is about encouraging and supporting learners to develop themselves into creative, autonomous, independent and critical learners who could initiate their own questions, and to explore and implement their own solutions to their questions, in study, and life.

This would then truly transform education, based on an inverted pyramid of education structure, where learners are situated at the pinnacle of their learning.  This is premised on that “learners who find the answers for themselves, retain it better than if they’re told the answer.” as reinforced by Sugata.

Indeed, this is also underpinned in the wisdom that learners would learn better when they are active in their learning journey, based on authentic learning.

Being knowledgeable is about knowing the stuff.   Knowledge able is being able to find, sort, analyse, criticize and able to create and share new information and knowledge. (Michael Wesch)

Future education and learning is no longer restricted to the “learning of facts and knowledge out there in the books, artifacts, information networks, and internet”.  Any one who could access the internet, webs and social networks, Google and wikipedia etc. could easily get the answers and solutions to their basic questions.  Learning is more about knowing what questions are important to the learners, and searching for responses to those questions in the quest of knowledge, and the creation of new knowledge and wisdom in a world of change.  It is the critical lenses that learners wear that would allow them to perceive the world differently, and to change, adapt and transform where necessary in their pursuit of knowledge and upgrade of skills and abilities.

I have also envisioned our future education here.