Friday, 1 February 2013

More on The MOOC Learning Experience!

The edcmooc MOOC themes are very broad – this isn’t helped when the course team broaden the discussion further to include disputed historical texts like Prensky’s 2001 Natives and Immigrants article. Education and digital media are both in a permanent state of disruptive change – we're Teaching and Learning in a storm! The lines of argument are not clear. E-learners are coming from very different perspectives, with variable experience and all are shouting to be heard. It is exciting, but a little frantic. I found it threatening at first. Now I just find it exhausting! Another difficulty is trying to juggle the MOOC learning with ‘all other activities’. For many of us, the MOOC learning is taking place in some ‘hidden’ hours, in spare time which doesn’t really exist?

E-learning course teams tend to over-strategize and over-direct the learners. It’s understandable – they feel they can’t start a course without sufficient content! They need to fill the perceived pedagogical vacuum. But sometimes it’s necessary to put a learning challenge to the students, to truly allow them to construct their own learning. Then the course team can ‘guide from the side’. I once proposed that e-learning for many students (especially for students with little or no access to software/hardware/broadband) seemed like looting – the students’ dived in, grabbed the resources they could and then ran away (presumably to learn). The online experience is noisy, competitive and accelerated. Speed is important! We have the library or the quiet study room in mind when we think of learning spaces. E-learning finds it impossible to slow down, to create space for reflection - ‘reflection is not the default setting’ (a quote from MIT’s Peter Lunenfeld).

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