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

The c MOOC as knowledge ecologies

Thanks to Stephen Downes for the reference to Dr. Mohamed Amine Chatti’s Knowledge Management: A Personal Knowledge Network Perspective.

Here are some abstracts that I would like to quote:

Knowledge ecologies are thus self-controlled and self-contained entities.

Knowledge ecologies lacked a shared repertoire and are thus open and distributed knowledge domains.

The result of participation in a knowledge ecology is a restructuring of one’s PKN, a reframing of one’s theories-in-use and an extension of one’s external network with new tacit and explicit knowledge nodes; i.e. people and information (external level)

Knowledge ecology is a more general concept than intensional networks.

In essence, a knowledge ecology is a complex adaptive system that emerges from the bottom-up connection of PKNs.

That is a wonderful analysis of knowledge ecology, with a model of Knowledge Management based on Personal Knowledge Network perspective.

I have once conceived that c MOOCs did exhibit the features of community and community of practice, though it certainly differed from the main features of COPs as postulated by Etienne Wenger.

I reckon this knowledge ecology concept re-opens the discourse about the nature of MOOC, in where it functions and operates, and how it behaves, as a knowledge ecology at times.  However, I have often noticed that MOOCs would exhibit the configuration of knowledge ecology – with networks and communities embedded in it post MOOCs.

Here I have elaborated such a configuration in my previous post:

Based on my past experiences with CCKs, PLENK2010 and other MOOCs, the community is quite different from the “typical” communities that we would define, as there is no distinct boundary for the community.  Instead of a community, in MOOC, it consists of numerous networks and communities which formed and re-formed, with some sustained, and some re-configuration in the network-community that formed.  MOOCkers might have morphed along conglomerate networks, or social media as the weeks progressed, thus staying on with a particular media for sometime, and/or created blogs for a particular purpose, and then, engaged with others for a while.  This seems to behave in a self-organised manner, without any directions from any facilitators, but then the individuals within particular networks would set their own agenda, goals, or tasks which suited their needs.

Can one reveal the patterns out of these network/community formation and development?  Some social network analysis did reveal the trend and pattern.

How about this network and community of practice? COPs need a lot of nurturing before they could grow, develop and sustain.

In this article by Wenger and Snyder suggest that: To get communities going – and to sustain them over time – managers should:

*Identify Potential Communities of Practice.

*Provide the Infrastructure that will support such communities of practice.

*Use non traditional methods to assess the value of these communities of practice.

In MOOC, who will be the manager managing the COPs?  May be, there is no one manager, but each of the participants in the MOOC would take up such role, and self-organise the COPs/Networks in a way that suits him or her.

Twitter is a network, though not a community, as many would argue.  But under the “infra-structure” of MOOC, would Twitter be re-defined differently? Is it a transitional community, or communities of practice?  May be.

Photo: Google

Postscript: Here is my post on knowledge and learning ecology.

Finally, I would reiterate about future of education based on a new paradigm of knowledge:

I conceive new and emerging knowledge would be created through such “Global Community and Networks” which would be based on an environment, education and learning ecology with a network of learning platforms such as MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses), MOOCs (Massive Open Online Communities) and MOOP (Massive Open Online Projects) over different spaces, network chains.

#Change11 Reflection on MOOCs based on a Connectivist Approach

At what point could this become connectivist if the actions are on the internet and interaction/development of ideas takes place? We are all connected with our local communities and networks in certain ways, patterns, but with technology as media, and social media as “catalyst” and agents, we are now able to reach different corners of the world, beyond the traditional closed walls (schools, classes) or local groups or communities. The tyranny of space and time could also be overcome with such a connectivist approach. So, whilst constructivist approach addresses the construction of meaning between agents (mainly human, or actor networks), connectivist approach goes beyond that through multiple agents, multiple actor networks, technology and tools, and most important of all, with a basis of openness, autonomy, diversity and connectedness (properties of networks) in order to strengthen the learning.

For an elaboration on the characteristics of early MOOCs, you will find them in George and Stephen’s various posts and other papers here and here. You could also find some papers in my publications on the right hand side of this blog menu, which documented how the MOOCs were designed, delivered and developed. The MOOCs are evolving and emerging and so they are based on adaptive, self-organising and emergent learning principles, rather than the static prescriptive instrumental learning principles.

An ideal MOOC to me would likely be distributed over different learning spaces, which again would align with learners’ different and changing needs and goals. As Stephen mentioned the product of learning is the learner, and so the learning is based on a growth model where learner’s growth of “knowledge” and wisdom with the navigation and construction of networks upon time. This also requires pruning of obsolete network patterns (outdated concepts, information, knowledge etc.), with the growing and nurturing of new and emergent network patterns.

This is also one of the most difficult and challenging part of education and learning, as it challenges the values of traditional canonical knowledge often prescribed in books and are determined by authorities, and are confined to be “delivered” in a closed wall settings. With the rapid changes in information and knowledge landscape, such ways of “transmitting” information and knowledge limited the discourse and inquiry, reducing knowledge to a set of memorable known facts, information, or procedures which, if understood would constitute learning.

Answers to questions, if shared would provoke further thinking and reflection, in a connectivist learning ecology. As each of us may look at the answers from our own lens, experience, we could then share our understanding, and critique on the “strengths” and “weaknesses” of those answers, and thus be able to improve or innovate through deeper inquiry and critical thinking. This is also based on a social scientific approach where “truths” are revealed in light of evidences and arguments, rather than the mere showing of facts and figures in experimentation.

I think it would be necessary to write a paper elaborating on the changes in MOOCs since their inception.

Image: from Google & Dave Cormier

Postscript: Stephen Downes has posted this Video that relates to Connectivist Learning.

#Change11 Becoming – the Ontology

This is my response to Louise’s post.

Declarative knowledge is the species of knowledge that is, by its very nature, expressed in declarative sentences or indicative propositions.  This distinguishes descriptive knowledge from what is commonly known as “know-how”, or procedural knowledge (or the procedural knowledge) is the know how, so it is related to known procedures. Conceptual knowledge is related to knowing how the concepts are related to a theory, or an experience, and that also requires certain kinds of memory.  Here is the difference between  conceptual and procedural knowledge.

Becoming is different, in that it relates what is becoming for a person, with a willingness to continue to learn, and develop oneself to be more knowledgeable or knowledge-able. Just remembering how things are done may prevent making similar mistakes in the future. However, to know what is current, and to know how to learn through navigation in the networks is more important than the mere memorizing of facts.  Gagnes steps in instruction is useful for known facts, procedures, and thus some use in formal instruction and training.  However, it may be limited when learning in an informal setting, as critical thinking and sensemaking goes far beyond merely following the procedures.  What do you think?

#Change11 Metaphors of learning and knowledge

I like to toss around ideas, thoughts, and explore about what metaphors mean.

Here in wikipedia, there are definitions and ample examples of metaphor:

“A metaphor is a literary figure of speech that uses an image, story or tangible thing to represent a less tangible thing or some intangible quality or idea; e.g., “Her eyes were glistening jewels.”

“argument is war” and “time is money.” Metaphors are widely used in context to describe personal meaning. The authors also suggest that communication can be viewed as a machine: “Communication is not what one does with the machine, but is the machine itself.” (Johnson, Lakoff, 1980).[13]

I have composed some posts relating to metaphors, here, here, here, and here.

Here is a collection of metaphors  relating to knowledge and learning on delicious.

There are abundance of metaphors. Take these two as examples:

Models of innovative knowledge communities and three metaphors of learning

The knowledge creation metaphor – An emergent epistemological approach to learning

Under the Three metaphors of learning:

The acquisition metaphor: “monological” within mind approach

The participation metaphor: “dialogical”, interaction approach

The knowledge creation metaphor: “trialogical”, developing collaborative shared objects and artifacts.

What would be the metaphor for a connectivist approach?  Would it be based on a participation and knowledge creation metaphor?

How about a rhizomatic approach?

Picture: Google

For me, it requires some of the following images to represent and visualise, and more:

Picture: credit from Gordon

Photo credit: see link above

Photo credit: Google

Picture: From George & participants’ collaboration

Picture credit: Alan Levine

Have you got any images, videos, podcasts, audios or slideshares for Change11?