#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 Horizon Report – Higher Education Edition

Want to know about the future trend of emergent technology?

Here is the link to Horizon report 2012 Higher Education Edition.

See this Horizon Report Wiki.

A summary of the trends here:

The areas of emerging technology cited for 2012 are:

Time to adoption: One Year or Less

  • Mobile Apps
  • Tablet Computing

Time to adoption: Two to Three Years

  • Game-based Learning
  • Learning Analytics

Time to adoption: Four to Five Years

  • Gesture-based Computing
  • Internet of Things

Embracing Technology in Higher Education

In this post “Review: The Edgeless University: Why Higher Education Must Embrace Technology”, Tony Bates writes:

“It’s not that I disagree with these recommendations, but this does not provide a new vision for the university of the future. Furthermore, while necessary, these are very weak policies for changing institutions with huge inertia.”

Agreed. I think this goes back to people’s thinking on what, how and why we need to embrace technology in Higher Education.  What are the attitudes of people (educators, administrators and learners) in Higher Education towards the application of technology  (in particular Web 2.0 and social media) in education and learning?

If I were to use an analogy of learning how to drive to that of learning in an education and learning institution, then  embracing technology in Higher Education, especially in online education would mean that I were to learn how to drive not only a manual, but an automatic automobile, and may be even a virtual car of the future. 

So, what one needs to consider in driving includes: What are the safe driving policies and procedures?  What are the driving rules and regulations ? Who is the driver of such a “virtual” car? What is required for safe driving? Why safe driving? How does technology help the driver in safe “virtual” driving?  What are impacts of virtual driving to society?

Source: Flickr (Envisionpublicida)

you can can drive my car from envisionpublicidad 2710601468_456c12bf2d_mThis means that higher education could now switch its gear from teacher-centred education (driving) to learner-centred learning (driving), especially in e-learning or open online education. The learner driver is driving TOGETHER with the driving coach or mentor (the back seat driver,  the educators – professors, teachers, learning technologists etc.) online.  

All the policies and procedures that are associated with the traditional mode of teaching – the cookbook “teacher-centred” solution – the systems, policies, teaching and learning, technology would be tested under the new paradigm of virtual “driving” by the educators and learners. 

In order to envision the University of the future, how about the blending of technology and tools, education and social networks Picture1the worldin an online environment?  Would such a borderless, edgeless university be a reality out of a virtual world of learning? How would virtual driving  (the vision, the actual driving) be achieved in a sustainable manner?  Quite a challenge!

How would this be turned around and be integrated into the traditional education and learning system? Can we be brave enough to ask what, how and why the learner want to drive in such a virtual “learner-centred” manner? Technology, education and learning is now intertwined in such a way that the learner wants to have more autonomy in the learning process, and that one size (technology, teaching and learning) doesn’t suit all.  What the learner’s need is CHOICE.

So, instead of working on a “closed” education system, an alternative approach could be to work on an “open” network education system, that would embrace all the open education resources, teaching and learning, and social networking with TECHNOLOGY MEDIATION in an open system.  The MIT free open education course ware and many open education resources open learning initiative come close to the provision of those resources that could be accessed via the open system – the internet, that acts a global learning ecology.     

In Social Networks provide New Lessons in Learning the University of People claims to provide a novel solution towards learning.  Would it be sustainable in the long run?  Would the courses offered be accredited by the education authority?  How would people respond to these forms of learning?  Are the learners needs met with such education provision?  Time will tell.

The opening up of education with technology and social networks such as those from MIT, University of People would pose huge challenges to the existing infra-structure of Higher Education Institutions.  How would fixed curriculum, closed teaching, and the administration of the system in Higher Education Institutions be able to respond to the “disruptive nature of technology”?  How would those institutions respond to these urge for changes by the educators, learners and business leaders?

Would the introduction of informal learning via social networks narrow the gap between formal education and informal learning?  Do we still need to have such a demarcation between formal and informal learning?  Perhaps, there is only one and only one sort of learning – and that is learning in the future!  Learning is part of our life – it is life long and life wide.

Corporate Training and Higher Education

I totally agree with the views of George’s Modernizing Corporate Training.  What is amazing is that corporate training  and higher education (HE) seems to tap into the same and different “markets segments” nowadays, whereas in lots of  scenarios, the target audience are practically the same.  It’s a matter of difference in focus: corporate training versus higher education.

I think blended learning, and collaboration have been happening in HE and informal social networks for years, just that people seldom recognise their importance until recent time.

Research so far in this area is difficult, as you could hardly prove the superiority of one over the other (i.e. blended learning over face-to-face, or over complete online learning, informal learning over formal education) unless the same control groups could take the experiment at the same time (which is hardly possible).  The complexity and emergence of learning further complicates the pattern of learning effectiveness. 

People have now shifted their learning focus towards socialisation (development of social intelligence as promoted by Daniel Goleman) via social networks (face-to-face and virtual) as part of their “education agenda and goals”, on top of their emotional intelligence.  That is also the basis of networked learning or connectivism (George Siemens and Stephen Downes). 

My observation is that lots of corporate trainers still prefer to be the sage on the stage in their training approach.  That’s perfectly legitimate for novice learners.   Does it serve the experienced and expert learners or employees? 

Mandatory training may still play an important part for most organisations when it comes to legislation, company cultures, mission and vision, strategies, award restructuring, occupational health and safety, standard operation procedures and practices. 

 What may be of interests is that nowadays a lot of employees could access these information via their company intranet or over the internet.  What seems more important in training is not just the “knowledge” that are adopted by the learners, but the creative or innovative application of such knowledge to continuously improve the work operations and satisfy the customers needs and expectations.  These require collaboration and cooperation amongst employees, a supportive management infrastructure and strong leadership to leverage the benefits out of training and workforce development.

When it comes to vocational education and training and higher education, there has been a strong movement towards going back to the “apprenticeship” model of education and training – with mentoring as an alternative “education and corporate training model” on a one-on-one or one-on-a few customised learning model. 

So, when the learners in the organisations are already experts in their areas, what is more important is mentoring and talent management.   So recognition, peer – teaching and learning in networks becomes the predominant swing of the pendulum.

But, what about the role of the corporate trainers? An assessor? A facilitator? A consultant?

I noted a recent movement in HE and corporate training seems to be “crossing the roads” and here comes the emergence! An opportunity….for the collaboration?  Would it be a huge challenge for both HE and Corporate Training sectors to weave through the partnership and collaboration?

The existing financial turmoils and rapidly changing technology further accelerates the need of people to continuously update their skills and broaden their experience with the use of technology (Web 2.0), through social and education networking.

Would corporate training deliver its promise as shown in that article? Or would it be HE leading the role?

Enjoy this video on Social Intelligence – an interview with Daniel Goleman.

What sort of skills and competency would be important in socialisation and social networking?

Education and Learning movement under technology

I agree that there has to be evolution, not revolution in education and learning, see What comes after this by Deangroom. The challenge is: Who is leading whom? In the education sector, we could see a really interesting phenomena, not only in Australia, but throughout most countries, in that leading authorities and communities in K-12, TAFE (or Vocational/Community College/Further Education) and Higher Education are trying to find pathways to have the “online collaborative creativity”.  How should such movement be structured?  And where should this lead us to?  I have indicated in my earlier post of connectivism that we may be prodding a way similar to the Quality and Customer Service first movement, where pragmatism (collaboration within various sectors, networks, corporations) and economic rationalism are coming the way with technology as the driver.  

It’s a challenge to educators, administrators and learners in such education movement. We have come to a multi-mission, multi-vision stage where the orbits are not converging, but diverging.  Otherwise we won’t see so many millions of blogs and thousands of communities all voicing with different perspectives and opinions.  This is a good sign in that it shows a true sense of democracy in a digital world, where any one or community could comment on the policy of the government, organisation, institutions, communities and society.  However, this also implies that it is never easy to satisfy any one (stakeholders) involved in education and learning, as the interests and needs of these parties are different.  Under the network phenomena, the movement is both complex and complicated (and “chaos” may be another better word to describe the current status).   I don’t think there has been any “tsunami” urge of education reforms or transformation ever recorded in history.  So where does this education movement arming with technology lead us to?

The open-source technology is changing rapidly, with new technology coming on board in lightning speed.  People in education and business sectors are amazed by such introductions.  Training, development programs in education and business are in high demand to keep up with the paces.  People are talking about the half-life of knowledge being at most 2 years.  And there is a recent trend, that such half life is getting shorter and shorter.  

If you check on the computer that you have got (say 1 year old model), and compare it with the one offered on the market now, you could see that the price might have dropped nearly 20-40% within one year, depending on the model. You will also find the latest model is not only better than the previous model in its function, but could also perform a lot faster than any of the computers that you might have.  The same thing may be happening to your television set, where the latest models are always cheaper and are having the high definition features that you have always dreamed of.  Is this also happening to the knowledge that you possess?  So, a renewal of knowledge is important for anyone in the education sector, whether one is a director, an administrator, education leader, educator, or a graduate or a learner.  No one can remain expert without a renewal and update of knowledge, by being connected to the digital world on a timely basis.    

So here comes the problem of control in education and learning.  Controls are perceived as both strengths and weaknesses by educators and learners alike. Everyone is striving for complete control over his/her education and learning, whereas educational leadership is requiring a system control over the education and learning, as expected by the institutions and society.

Where is the leverage point for these “power” control”? Are there any convergence coming out of the institution/network learning?  What do you see are the major challenges and barriers to such changes?  Will a “grassroot-level” urges for changes provide the impetus for transformation?  Will systematic change come from “steering vision and mission” out of educational leadership?  Will transformation come from collaborative network’s wisdom of the crowd?  What do you think is the “best-practice” approach towards education for your community?

Higher and Further Education – Education versus Learning

As mentioned in my previous post on At MIT Large Lectures Are Going the Way of the Blackboard , there is a trend in shifting from large lecture to small class with interactive and collaborative learning  among Higher Education Institutions.  This is really a good move from teacher – centered towards a more student – centered learning approach.

However, such an approach also carries some implications.  For those elite and gifted students who prefer exploring on their own rather than attending lessons, what could the Universities do about it?  These students could still be bored by the “easy” tasks of clicking the answers or discussing with their peer students.  Would more challenging tasks in the form of problem-based tasks or collaborative tasks requiring team work be alternatives?  And for those weaker students who have trouble getting the right answers with the clickers, how could they be helped out in the learning process?   Would one-on-one or one-on-few mentoring or peer teaching be an alternative?

In small class discussion, learning with peer students will only be helpful if the peers have also acquired significant experience in the areas.  Otherwise, some of the students may think it to be a waste of time by checking the answers during a session.  Some students really expect to learn directly from the professors, as they perceive that they pay heavy fees to attend the “lectures” delivered by the prestigious scholars.  So, how would an educator strike a balance between giving a lecture against small group work or discussion?  Would a combination of lectures and group discussion help?

Besides, deep learning requires time for personal reflection and application, meaning that simple clicking of the right answer to multiple choice is not good enough.  More thorough discussion in forum or blogs would help most learners in sharing and contributing to emergent knowledge.

Would a review of major teaching and learning techniques be necessary to move this agenda forward?

For educators and learners in Higher and Further Education, here are some of the major methodologies that could be considered for training, learning and development:

Group Discussion/Development MethodsConference, Forum, Symposium, Workshop, Social Networking/Education (Facebook, Ning, Wikis, edublogs), Community of Practice

Group Participation Techniques  – The Case Study, Brainstorming, The In-Basket Exercise, Role Playing,  Games, Laboratory Training

Information Presentation TechniquesLecture, Video lecture, Slide (Powerpoint, Slideshare) Presentation, Videos (YouTube, Myspace, Vimeo)

Individual Development MethodsIndividual Development Plans, Correspondence, distance learning, e-learning, Reading List, Self-Paced Instruction, Job Rotation, Coaching, e-Mentoring, Planned Experiences, blogging, Delicious

So, would educators (professors, lecturers, teachers, education technology/instructional designers) and administrators be re-thinking about how the Learning Management System and Personal Learning Environment (Space and Tools) could  best be used to suit each learner’s needs, under different context (i.e.  learning ecology).   This may require an understanding of the paradigm shift of teacher-centered to learner-centered in a practical sense, not another theoretical approach.  Otherwise, it would just be like a pendulum swinging from teaching to learning and then back to teaching.

Nevertheless, I still reckon that some of the traditional teaching techniques and methods are still relevant in today’s learning environment, especially when young novice learners have only been exposed to a handful of learning techniques in the first year of studies.  Again, it is imperative to weigh the merits and demerits of using each of those “teaching” techniques in the learning process, so as to ensure the learner’s needs are met. 

In summary, formal education and informal learning methodologies need to be considered in its own merits throughout ones learning journey.  A reflection of learning styles and an understanding and practice of those techniques mentioned will help a learner in choosing the most appropriate form of learning.

Who determines and controls the learning?    Who will evaluate the learning?  Will it be the learner(s)?  Will it be in the form of a network of learners?

Higher Education – towards a hands-on, interactive, collaborative learner-centred Learning

At MIT Large Lectures Are Going the Way of the Blackboard there is a shift from large lectures to small classes that emphasize hands-on, interactive, collaborative learning. Isn’t it good news? Let’s see it from different perspectives.

The physics department has replaced the traditional large introductory lecture with smaller classes that emphasize hands-on, interactive, collaborative learning. Last fall, after years of experimentation and debate and resistance from students, who initially petitioned against it, the department made the change permanent. Already, attendance is up and the failure rate has dropped by more than 50 percent.

George Siemens remarked in his Weekly: Changes of this nature still occur within the existing structure of universities. The next, somewhat obvious, question to tackle is “how should universities be structured when access to information and ability to create learning networks shift from instructor to learner control?”.

From an educational perspective, such structural changes in the way teaching is delivered are viewed as an innovative approach, as reported in the article.

A study of of comments provide interesting perspectives. As the comments are pretty diversive, it seems that no conclusion could be drawn whether such an approach is really beneficial to the students or not.

What changes do you think would be necessary to shift higher education towards a hands-on, interactive, collaboratie learning approach? Will network-learning couple with personal learning platforms and tools (Web2.0) change the way higher education is developed and delivered?