Personalization of education and learning

What should our future education be aiming for?  Massification of education or personalization of learning?

In this paper on Instructional Theory by Reigeluth C. (2012), he highlights the need of having more personalized approach towards learning, through a post-industralist instructional approach, where learner becomes the centre for learning.

In this Mastery Learning and this paper on Mastery Learning, there are benefits of adopting its philosophy in MOOCs.  That’s also the central pedagogy adopted by most xMOOCs providers.

As I have shared in my previous post, students may master what is expected to be learnt if all teachers are teaching solely to the test.  However, it seems that many people might have mis-understood the initial intention of Mastery Learning, where the intention is NOT to ask the teacher to teach only those concepts for the sake of assessment or testing, but to allow the learners to master their learning at their own pace, in a progressive manner with immediate feedback in order to reinforce their understanding of concepts, and to correct any mis-understood concepts where possible.  Besides, Mastery Learning could be effectively employed in a mentoring and apprenticeship program where the mentor could guide the mentee through the program.

The future of education though would lie with personalization rather than massification of education as Aoki concludes here

This massification of online education appears to go in an opposite direction to personalization that elearning and use of ICT in education should aim for the purpose of providing more effective individualized learning experiences to learners.

How to progress from massification to personalization of online education?  I have shared that here.

Giving  students the correct answers strict away may sound a good instructional approach towards teaching.  However, have the students learnt how to arrive to those calculations?  Have the students mastered the concepts CORRECTLY?  How do we know if the students could apply their skills and transfer them from one area to another, in solving problems?

Aoki elaborates further on how personalization of learning could be achieved:

With the vast amount of data gathered through learners, personalization will become possible eventually with proper learning analytics and data mining. Furthermore, quality of learning outcomes may be further assured with the evidence of learning.

Big Data, Adaptive Learning and the Assumptions behind Part 1

This post on adaptive learning and big data sounds interesting. Thanks to Stephen Downes for the reference.

What are the significance of big data?

What is adaptive learning?

What are the assumptions behind the relationship between big data and adaptive learning?

Here is my previous post relating MOOC to adaptive system.

Before I could address the three questions above, here is my comment to my previous post:

What questions of learning would lead to a particular learning theory? If you ask me a question of learning based on behavior learning theory, surely I could gather evidences which could match your questions.
Similarly, if you ask me if instructivist approach is best for teaching, like those in xMOOCs, I could show you all the great, positive and praising and thankful responses from the learners on the professors, and course content, and the high distinctions result of the students, as evidence of great pedagogy of mastery learning, and the cognitivism/behaviorism play a major role in the whole notion of learning. Experiments and empirical researches surely have demonstrated these under classroom environments.
Would these be equally true and effective in virtual learning environment? If we are to use the assessment results like an improvement and grades or scores as evidence of learning achievement, we may likely end up with the theory that cognitivism relates to learning most directly, as the intellectual capability of a person is demonstrated through the achievement of results in test, examination or assignment. These seem certainly be the case, under a formal education system.
However, how about the social aspects of learning? Could we assume that a highly intelligent person (who is tested with high IQ or highest achiever) be socially capable in connecting with others in classroom, workplace or community? What assumptions have we made in judging the correlations between individual intellectualism and social skills and social intelligence? Would we be able to easily delineate the relationships between all these various parameters and factors? You could quote examples in real life indicating that many highly intellectual scholars won’t socialize, and these included Issac Newton, Albert Einstein, etc, but that they were highly successful in their academic achievement, and should be role models for many learners. Did this prove anything about personal learning or social learning as explained under learning theories? Again, this depends on what assumptions you have made, and what questions that you are asking in your scientific research, or inquiry in learning.

If you ask me if connectivist approach is best for learning under a complex learning environment, I could show you social network analysis, and how the 4 properties of openness, diversity, autonomy, interactivity and connectivity lead to better networked learning, under Connectivism.

In summary, it is not what I want it to be that would lead Connectivism to become a learning theory. It is what you could demonstrate and theorise that would lead one to “believe” in certain validity and reliability of a learning theory such as Connectivism.

How would I relate the big data to adaptive learning?  I would explore these in the coming posts.

What would be the implications of MOOCs on Higher Education?

Here is a provocative post on moocs and other ed tech bubbles.  My first response below:

I would like to write a detailed response, but by now a few questions and comments first. 1. Would technology undermine formal education? 2. Could learner pick and choose their education? 3. When none of the peers is an expert, is there too much risk of misconceptions and bad habits becoming established within the cohort? 4. Who are the experts? How are these experts identified and recognised? Are we looking for experts as “teachers” or “facilitators”, or machine based AI generated experts? 5. Are experts available for “free” in mooc or  would they only “teach” when paid? 6. Why would professors want to teach in MOOCs? What are their motivations? Are they assuming the role of a teacher, or a learner among the networks?

My comments: Sebastian Thrun has tried his experiment with the AI MOOC as he is a highly enthusiastic educator and is willing to devote time and efforts in doing the “extra” teaching. Could we presume and assume all the professors in MOOCs are having and sharing the same spirit of teaching, apart from their research loads?

One of the questions is: If the mooc is better than the existing teaching and learning in the elite or most universities, wouldn’t that be the greatest disruption to their own “mainstream” teaching and pedagogy? If the mooc is far less valuable, attractive and useful than their mainstream teaching and pedagogy, who would be losing? Would that be the professors teaching in the MOOCs? So, no matter whether MOOCs are providing a better or worse pedagogy to the mainstream teaching, either way would not be beneficial to the HE institutions and the professors. But without the MOOCs as the starting point, what would happen? No change, no innovation needed? Would that be totally different if the pedagogy is aligned with cMOOCs? I don’t know the answer.

To me, the xMOOCs are still organization driven and well developed online courses, which seem to be significantly different from the adhoc organization driven and adhoc (COP, mentoring) and the cMOOCs which are learner driven and adhoc (social networks, forums, wikis, blogs).  The cMOOCs are leveraging the affordance of emerging technology and tools, together with the social networks to achieve learning (both formal and informal learning).  This seems to be a race between technology affordance and professors and the associated pedagogy employed in the conversation and engagement of learners in the MOOCs.

Do you want learners to learn from the organizations or from the self-initiated networks (PLE/PLN)?

Would it be possible to sustain education with prescriptive knowledge and emergent knowledge?

What would be more valuable for learners – in terms of knowledge duplication or knowledge creation?

Which would be the model of education (push or pull in knowledge generation and creation) that would fit into the learners’ present and future needs?

Would that be a matter of sensemaking and wayfinding if the digital learning is employed?

Emergence category-matrix2 (1)


A reflection of MOOCs

Would MOOC transform higher education?  Some say yes, others still hesitate….

Do we need more or less universities? Most would say yes, more please, but the reality is, may be less, because of MOOCs.

What does a MOOC look like?

This post on MOOCs experience provides a good glimpse about what MOOC is like.  To me, that sounds quite a familiar approach similar to most university courses teaching and learning, with lectures, quizzes, forums, and assessments and or examinations.  It is interesting to realize that there aren’t any “unexpected” learning or pedagogy, as they are all based the typical behavioral-cognitive approach, where you could learn alone, by accessing all the available resources and artifacts.  May be the peer assessment is still not typical in our “traditional classroom teaching” where most students would have expected the professors to do all the markings.

The old concept that “professors” are expected to carry out a duty of care, and to exercise responsibility in conducting the assessment is still current under certain education system.  That is also why professors are needed, in order to assess the participants appropriately.

There are lots of praises and promotion by individual bloggers and professors, and surely, many have enjoyed the xMOOCs, see here on how great they are.

What is the emergent trend of MOOCs?

It seems that we are now having Universities chains competing with Universities chain, as we see both UK universities are now joining in the competitions with the MOOCs chain, as I have shared this in my previous post.

Futurelearn will carry courses from 12 UK institutions (see list), which will be available to students across the world free of charge.”

It will follow in the footsteps of US providers including Coursera, edX and Udacity, which offer around 230 Moocs from around 40 mostly US-based institutions to more than 3 million students.

The new platform will operate as an independent company, majority owned by The Open University, although details of other investors have yet to be confirmed.

We are looking for solutions to HE, and MOOCs seem to provide that solution to tackle the problems in education, as revealed here.  Dominick concludes here:

I don’t think our MOOC which combines features of both c and xMOOCs with traditional online and blended learning, is any more successful at this than any other form of education. The general advice, viz, “give students as many ways of interacting with each other, the subject and the teachers, as possible” also contains the seeds of its own downfall. More ways of interaction mean more opportunities for learning and personalizing one’s own educational progress. But they also mean more opportunities for confusion and more ways of encountering demotivating experiences.

Are we ready to introduce MOOCs to K-12 education?

Relating to this call for MOOC in size – small please, for k-12, what I found were a lot of questions that need to be addressed.  Though I am pretty impressed with the opportunity afforded by MOOCs in the education of k-12, I just don’t think we are ready yet.

How would MOOCs be accreditated?

Accreditation relates to individuals, not institutions.  Is it true?

Are MOOCs about new teaching strategies?

If MOOCs are about new teaching strategies, then I think we might have already got some of these teaching strategies developed with cMOOCs.  Mark sees MOOCs differently, as he critically summarises his views, relating to the disruptive nature of such Future initiatives.

How to decide whether to adopt MOOCs be good or not in HE?

The iron triangle of “cost, access and quality” seems to be the deciding factors in deciding whether it’s worthwhile to pursue MOOC in HE, as mentioned in  this:

Molly Broad, president of the American Council on Education, refers to the “iron triangle” of higher education: cost, access and quality. The assumption has always been it’s a zero-sum game – you can improve any one of those only at the expense of the others.  No matter how technology improves, a string quartet simply can’t be performed (well) by fewer people than in Beethoven’s day. So the relative cost of college (and musical performance) will always rise, relative to other things where efficiency does improve.

What would I like to see in MOOC education?

I would like to see education outside and inside the Ring of MOOC, as I have elaborated in my previous post here.

John Seely Brown says here.  “You can imagine new forms of education that now become possible with the Internet and all kinds of other types of capabilities surrounding that.  We don’t have to think about just getting educated by going to classical schools.  Now you can get educated in brand new ways. ”

It’s about connecting the dots, going beyond our comfort zone, and thinking and adopting brand new ways of education and learning.

What are some ways of keep tinkering with the MOOCs?

It seems that the Lord of the MOOC Ring is drumming along, with students creating these wonderful videos.  Aren’t they all creating their own education and learning journey?

In MOOCs, more is less, and less is more (Part 1)

What do I mean by the more is less and less is more in MOOCs?

There are two types of MOOCs,  the cMOOCs and xMOOCs.  We have more x MOOCs than c MOOCs.  We might however have less chance to transform education, if we don’t go beyond the boxes in thinking and designing the learning.  There would be less “learning” if we are  to adhere only to the traditional way of teaching and learning – by mere lecturing, video taking, or just flipping the classroom, without reflecting and learning what they mean to our education and learning.

In this part 1, I would focus on c MOOC.

More is less in Connectivist MOOCs:

The more connections there are in c MOOCs, the less effective it seems to individual learners in learning when information or ” knowledge” is “pushed to the learners”.  Most learners (novices) would find difficulties in filtering information, in online learning such as MOOCs.  There are also associated emotions of confusion, feelings of overwhelming of information, and self-doubt in confidence when using new and emerging technology, or in conversing with others in social and learning networks.

In nearly all cMOOCs, the caveat is:

Adopt a pull approach in filtering information, pattern recognition and knowledge creation or construction.  McMOOC is a knowledge and learning ecology.  May I call it a McMOOC – The Meta Connectivist MOOCs?

As Jenny says:

Maybe a better approach is to focus on the novices, i.e. get the mentors working with them from the word go (my understanding is that the mentors haven’t started yet), make posts which explicitly state what the nature of open courses is, tell them to expect to be confused and find it overwhelming, tell them to pick and choose and so on.

The more novices there are in a MOOC, the more “guidance or direction” there seems to be required in order that the novices won’t get lost in the midst of chaos of information and space.   ‘Safety’ and ‘constraints’ might need to be considered in the design (Mackness, 2012).  However, too much protection and guidance given to the novices would only turn a c MOOC into a traditional or typical online MOOC, which would again deter novice learners from learning how to learn through “experience”.

Besides, advanced learners, veterans, knowledgeable others and experts  in the MOOCs who are there to support novices would find it difficult to help others, if they don’t see clearly what their roles are in the MOOCs.

Jenny again:

Pedagogy First course site, for example, we are urged to keep our posts short, to not use ‘jargon’, to not discuss things that might be ‘jumping ahead’ in the syllabus, to focus only on the tasks required by the syllabus, to not post anything controversial. If we want to do this, then we should not tag our posts with ‘potcert’ even if we think the topic is related to online pedagogy.

With the novices in MOOCs, less “complicated post” is needed, in terms of “less words” in posts, and less number of “expert” advice from different sources, as such advice could be confusing, and conflicting for them.

What sort of spaces would be helpful in learning?

Lisa in her post higher-ed-and-the-monastic-space says:

Our exciting “new models” for higher education are models that counter industrialized and standardized education, which is great. They emphasize collaborative work, social learning, and the affordances of the web in achieving greater learning through guided exploration and community, all fabulous things. But in promoting them as a substitute for “old style” learning, they also risk eliminating a place that may have become the last monastic space in which to work with the mind.

There are different spaces for learning. I think the old style learning has its genesis rooted in which learning existed in closed spaces, and often learning in solitude.

I found solitary learning quite enjoyable, though it is also challenging, as that requires lots of self-organised, disciplined and paced learning in order to succeed, when there aren’t lots of people learning with you.

For me, the physical spaces and virtual spaces could serve different learning purposes.  c MOOC is resorted to the virtual space, but offer spaces that are distinctly less confronting than the physical spaces, with face-to-face teaching and learning.

More connections, more experience with less dependence on “teaching”

When I first joined CCK08, I realized the importance of striking a balance between connections and expert advice at an early stage of the course.

Most people might get confused when they think a c MOOC is like a traditional online course where the teacher teaches, and the students learn and consume the knowledge from the course, like reading a book, an artifact, or watching and listening to a video lecture, and be assessed on what has been taught or covered in the texts and references.  That was the instructivist approach – based on behavioral/cognitivist learning theory, where the learners master the content, probably with the transfer of knowledge from one person/information source to that of the learner.

What actually happens in a cMOOC, and is expected is: the learners would learn best through participating in the various discourse, engaging with the learning activities, projects, interacting with each others (instructors, participants, peers, guest speakers or experts etc.), and connecting through a diverse space and learning platforms.  The focus of learning has shifted from learning as acquisition of skills and knowledge to learning as conversation, participation, and a peer-cooperative and collaborative process, and a knowledge as network formation and re-creation, and learning as knowledge creation (emergent knowledge in particular), growth and development, centered around the learner, and the community of learners or network of learners.

More connectivity, less structure

The more connectivity there are, the less formal structure of learning is required.  The more knowledge developed and grown, the less the dependence would be on the instructors and experts.  In other words, the learning cycle could ensure that the learners are transformed into experts within such a learning-growth-development-maturity cycle, through continuous planning, learning in action, reflection, adjustment of learning, re-action of learning and re-planning of the learning in action.

Motivation and Access First

As pointed out by Gilly Salmon: Access and motivation is essential for novices in any online course.

Without motivation, participants would either lurk or drop out from the course.

So, the more motivated the learners are, the less chance they would withdraw from the course, and the less constraints we should impose on the learners.

If our ultimate goal is to support the learners to achieve their goals, then we all need to help the learners in searching and “defining” their goals if possible, at the early stage of the course.

Mark highlights in his post on education and motivation

We establish our identity and reputation online to the extent that we contribute. We can’t be heard (or seen) unless we speak. We do this by uploading, commenting, and registering our presence through our interactions with others. This has important implications for how we approach education (offline as well as online).

Passion is important

The learners also need to find their passions in their search for “knowledge” and wisdom.  This may be part of the pathways in the MOOC.

Refer to Sir Ken Robinson’s” The element: How finding your passion changes everything”.  I think MOOC is about finding your passion through the engagement and conversation with others, leading you to more readily understand your identity and relationship with others and the society at large.

MOOC as learning and research platform

MOOC provides a platform for both novices, veterans and experts to share, learn and co-operate together, and so they could be connected to those like-mindedness networkers, different dissenters and knowledgeable others on a global basis.  That is where more exposure to the platforms would give rise to less “group think”.

MOOC is a GAME we all could play

Besides, there needs to be certain elements of fun, curiosity to learning and moments of excitement, or the AHA moments, in any introduction in MOOCs.  I have summarised them here in my previous post.  Let’s hedge the golden eggs with more fun, and less anxiety – of failure in MOOCs!

Isn’t it interesting to incorporate the pedagogy of gamification in education in MOOC?

#Change11 #CCK12 MOOCs on the SPOTLIGHT

Here is another video on MOOCs.  I am somewhat disappointed that there wasn’t any mention on CCKs (CCK8,9, 11, & 12), PLENK MOOC, Change11 MOOC, LAK12 or DS106.  As I have shared in my previous posts here and here, may be MOOCs have been perceived as knowledge acquisition, and that accreditation would attract more people to “gain” a qualification at low cost.

To what extent is that democratization of education?

What impacts will MOOC has on Higher Education and Universities, apart from the notion of “disrupting HE”?

What will be the role of educators (professors and instructors) in MOOCs?

What do you see will be the future of MOOCs?

#Change11 #CCK12 On Conversation and Pedagogical Framework

I came across this post of in praise of vagueness

Is the eternal quest for precise information always worthwhile? Our research suggests that, at times, vagueness has its merits. Not knowing precisely how they are progressing lets people generate positive expectancies that allow them to perform better. The fuzzy boundaries afforded by vague information allow people to distort that information in a favorable manner.

Would this apply in the creation of blog post, especially when precise information is not always available?  Would vagueness in the provision of information aid in stimulating conversation on blogs?

This conversation analysis sounds interesting though it is only applicable in medical conversation.  However, I found conversation analysis also useful in  establishing relationship with others, in social networking.

Laurillard’s Conversational framework sounds interesting here.  It is a useful framework in analyzing the learning transactions between an educator and learner, and how each would contribute to learning in a social networking setting.

Grainne comments in her post:

It focuses on Laurillard’s five media types:

  • Narrative – print, web resources, TV, video, etc.
  • Interactive – hypermedia and web resources
  • Communicative – audio and video conferencing, student collaboration, etc.
  • Adaptive – simulations and interactive tutorials
  • Productive – microworlds, etc.

I think this conversation framework stems from a macro social-communication-technological-media approach, and so how the conversations are developed in the different networks and communities would need to be analysed separately, especially when the learners are assuming part or all of the role of the teachers in the learning process or conversation.

Conversation – with learner in dialogue could be conceptualized in a PLE model , where internalized conversation takes place, with reflective learning (Kop, Fournier and Mak, 2011).

I have conceived that conversation could also be reflected upon, with fractal formations and development, where nested narratives (fractals embedded within fractals) are the important connections between the initial conversation and subsequent conversations.  This is where learning conversation could be manifested.

Conversation could also form part of the pedagogical framework within the model proposed by Grainne.  I think the dichotomy between individual and social could be depicted with a slightly different format, where individual would form the core of a circle, and social would lie outside the circle.

Here I have conceived the pedagogy in a different framework.  Essentially, it is based on the network properties and principles as proposed by Stephen Downes.

Here is my latest suggested pedagogical framework.  I think the information and experience dimensions are embedded in the social and individual dimension, as revealed in the conversation framework.