Learning is about doing, application of skills and reflection, not just theory alone.

How do you find that in MOOCs?  What is the pedagogy adopted in MOOCs (xMOOCs) in particular?

I reckon that MOOCs that I have been involved in were all application based, as I have to practice and reflect on what I have learnt through the practice, using Personal Learning Environment and Personal Learning Network (PLE/PLN), Web 2.0 tools application, collective inquiry and open discourse, and social networking.

Similarly, when it comes to instruction in class (both face-to-face and online), we used to explain basic concepts and principles, together with some case application or scenarios, followed by discussion and application of knowledge concepts and skills or case application, through various activities, projects and assessment.

So, to me instruction is just one part of the learning process, provided by the professor(s) or teacher(s) to the learners.  Instruction should lead to learning, though it is often restricted when there is limited practice following the instruction, especially in a lecture format.

Learning is about doing,  application of skills learnt, and reflection, in order to keep on improving one’s learning.  It is not just about the theory presented to us by the professors or teachers.   Learning is also about organizing ones’ work in a structured way, in order to achieve the goals through certain tasks.   So, it relates to the basic principles of instruction too, where one must demonstrate to others how certain tasks are done in a systematic and orderly manner, through explicit explanation, followed by demonstration.  Learning is then achieved also through teaching oneself, and others, like peer-to-peer teaching, in order to “become” an expert learner, or teacher.

In this connection, would MOOCs be designed and run with these principles in mind?  It is not just about multiple choice, it is not just about providing a “great presentation with wonderful explanation”.  It is about engaging and involving the learners to do something –  it may relate to their thinking, reflection, practice or demonstration and modelling of the skills, through their own actions, activities, assignments and application at home, or at work.  It could be demonstrated through blogging, tweeting, wiki or Google doc creation or collaborative or creative writing, or project and problem assignments, or peer assessment.

Here is a 3 part video on Teaching teaching and learning learning:

In summary, instruction is one part of the learning process, provided by the professor or teacher to the learners. Learning should be motivating, engaging, and interactive, where the activities and assessment should also be relevant, value added to the learners.  These learning could be demonstrated through blogging, tweeting, wiki or Google doc creation or collaborative or creative writing, or project and problem assignments, or peer assessment.

I hope my fellow colleagues and students would also provide some comments and feedback as to how they have learnt.

One thought on “Learning is about doing, application of skills and reflection, not just theory alone.

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