How to explain the current xMOOCs in terms of education model and pedagogy?

Daniel in his post of  a criticism of computer science models or modeles says:

The problem is made worse by the fact that researchers working on modèles more easily get the upper hand. They are never wrong. They can endlessly refine their modèles and re-evaluate them. As long as there is no actual problem to be solved, the modèles will tend to displace the models. Cargo cult science wins.

Of course, the reverse phenomenon may exist within industry. People working with modèles are at a disadvantage. They can’t make useful predictions. They can only explain, in retrospect, what is observed. All their sophistication fails to help them when real-world results are what matters.

I agreed with Daniel’s views.  How would this scientific model be applicable to Higher Education?  Or can we really explain the MOOCs phenomena using the scientific modelling?

May I share some ideas below, which I think is relevant to the building of models in education?

What I noted in recent years is that ideas and concepts seem to be more convincing than the empirical data and experimental proof, especially in “social science”. Why?

As Clayton Christensen mentions here, most academics are looking for data for analysis before they would make recommendations for further action in the introduction of innovation.  The first cMOOCs were run based exactly on Theory (Connectivism as a new and emerging learning theory, as proposed by George Siemens and Stephen Downes).  The xMOOCs were again run based on the Theory of Instructivism where Mastery Learning and Video based learning (coupled with flipped classroom) would work.

The current MOOCs proved that is the case, based on the assumptions that Mastery Learning and Instructivism are what drive learning to be achieved, though “peer learning” was added when researchers later found it had happened.  The video lectures were again “augmented” with the flipped classroom model, in order to explain why xMOOCs are so successful as a special pedagogy, where the whole phenomena was explained with a post-mortem basis.

There have been some researches done in explaining the cMOOCs movement from the basis of Complexity Theory and Chaos Theory, Self-organizing Theory and Theory of Emergence.  Not many people seem to have applied that in the case of xMOOCs.

Indeed, when we examine the xMOOCs pattern of education and learning, the whole notion of learning could be explained when individual learners interacted with the content and made use of the LMS as a platform for some of the information sources.  The participation and completion did fall under a similar pattern to the cMOOCs though xMOOCs are normally far “richer” in terms of the information provision and “instruction” via the video lectures.  Indeed the quizzes and examination are merely “transferred” from the typical face-to-face courses, only that they are all based on auto-grading, and thus address some of the challenges that once weren’t fully covered in cMOOCs.

So, my conclusion is that people often tried to explain a phenomena by pre-conceived and well-designed instructions and wonderful pedagogy in order to fulfill the self-fulfilling prophecy, which may unfortunately not always be representing the actual pattern of education and learning that has taken place.  The current xMOOCs can likely be explained much better through the interaction learning theory, with Complexity Theory of Education and Theory of Emergence, and Connectivism as a model of education.  There are obvious conflicts to the mission of education under an institution framework, as the low completion rate of MOOCs don’t align with original goals set off in Higher Education.   There are many major conflicts with institution mission as mentioned by Clayton Christensen in the discussion of MOOCs.

Here is how a cMOOC work, and that could explain partially why xMOOC work too.

The Challenges of MOOCs – Part 1

This post is intended to share my views on the challenges of MOOCs.

Photo credit: Google Image

mooc download (2)

Here is a glimpse of xMOOCs (not all are MOOCs)

Here are some resources on the development of xMOOCs.

What are the major challenges with these xMOOCs?

Challenge 1

A difference in use and expectation of the pedagogy by the professor and learners.  Pedagogy of xMOOC – mooc-pedagogy-the-challenges-of-developing-for-coursera. The recent incident professor-leaves-a-mooc-in-mid-course-in-dispute-over-teaching well illustrates this.

I have shared my views on pedagogy on MOOCs here and here.  On openness rather than scale in MOOC.

Research paper
Making Sense of MOOCs: Musings in a Maze of Myth, Paradox and Possibility
20120925 MOOCs paper

Challenge 2

Problem with the use of technology and social media in the course.  Here  coursera-forced-call-mooc-amid-complaints-about-course.

Challenge 3

Open platform where discussion and discourse escalated into heated arguments and disputes.  This incidence where the professor left the MOOC revealed the nature of the disputes

Challenge 4

Cheating and plagiarism

Challenge 5

Identity of students.

Comment: Identity verification.

Challenge 6

Drop out problem.  MOOC and the funnel of participation.

Challenge 7

Quality of MOOCs

Challenge 8

Business model of MOOC and the revenue. Coursera expansion of their MOOCs -coursera-adds-29-schools-90-courses-and-4-new-languages-to-its-online-learning-platform.  How-EdX-Plans-to-Earn.

Comment: I would reflect on each of the 8 challenges and how to tackle them in coming posts.

#Change11 Education Model

Interesting analogy, Ken. VHS is now superseded by DVD, and Cloud aggregation, curation, and distribution through the media and webs (internet videos, Youtube).

How is the current HE model going to compete with these giant galaxies of formal education and informal learning in the internet – all filled with Udacity, edX, MOOCs, Networks, COPs, webs (a web of blogs), social media (FB, twitter)?

HE needs to leverage on those “affordances” to “resurrect”, as we have already witnessed the resurgence of higher education using different strategies like “flipping the classroom, class, education, or even the system – gamification in education” by some of the universities and FE colleges. This requires both courage in taking risks and leadership in steering education in the “right direction” and vision. But it also creates winners and failures, especially when the experiments didn’t work.

The use of more charismatic leaders to boost the morale and improve quality of education in individual institutions has been well known strategies for decades, but would that alone solve the problems?

Disruption due to technology, alternative “smarter” and “intelligent & pragmatic” education and learning cannot be solved alone by even the greatest leaders in the world, IMHO.

This is now a “system” and ecology problem, where supply and demand in education have gone imbalanced, especially when more learners are looking for better education, at a lower cost, and better teachers, resources, and learning environment.

Such challenges in current education model (HE in particular) is like the climate change, where we are feeling the heat, and the overall impact on each of us. It is not about money only, it is about how people could re-think the best uses of the abundant (not limited) resources available on the internet and webs. It requires sourcing the information, curating and feeding them to the audiences just like the newspapers that have been used for decades. It is where OER could be aggregated, reused, re-purposed, re-distributed and re-created to yield new and emergent education models, that would be relevant, based on just-in-time learning principles (without wastes, ideally, at the right time, right space, right cost, and right quality) that provides “best or optimum” values to each education system, educational institution, stakeholder, educator, learner.

This requires a total re-conceptualization of the education paradigm and the associated system, where the sole reliance of teacher – student interaction may need to be shifted to a wholesome enriching the engagement, interaction and experience for educators and learners. Terry Anderson’s latest session on engagement model well illustrates those points, as posted by George Hobson.

Image: From George’s post and Terry’s slide

Does it ring a bell?

John