What is the difference between a MOOC and the e-learning courses of the last years?
Posted September 25, 2013on:
In the last „ZML-Leseclub“ Gudrun, Erika and I had a vivid discussion about MOOCs. As preparation of our meeting we have studied some articles of issue 33 of the eLearning Papers „MOOCs and beyond“. After a short overview of the articles of issue 33 we focussed on the article of Gùardia et al „MOOC Design Principles. A Pedagogical Approach from the Learner’s Perspective„.
The authors did an exploratory study of blog posts written during the participation in MOOCs to identify main design elements of a MOOC. The result were 10 principles such as: learner empowerment, learning plan and clear orientations, collaborative learning, social networking, peer assistance, … My colleagues liked this list whereas I was not satisfied with it because I didn’t find a factor especially relevant for MOOCs. I believe if someone had asked me some years ago (before the MOOC hype) what are the key-ingredients of the design of a good e-learning course I would have produced a list very similar to this one.
In our discussion Gudrun said that MOOCs according to their name are massive open online courses which means that many learners interact with materials and with each other in a structured environment and with open access. For Erika and her the learning material (often videos) is at the center of today’s MOOCs.
I was struggling to describe the difference between this list and my cMOOC experience with respect to the change11 MOOC. It was my first MOOC and had a real impact on my personal development.
In the change11 MOOC I was amazed by the diversity of learners, approaches, contexts. In the daily news a huge amount of tweets and blog posts were listed everyday. At the beginning I was focussing on the experts input, their reading materials and their questions but quickly I switched to read the blogs of participants. I preferred to reflect on their understanding of the subject, their „remix“ and their „repurpose“ in different contexts. The change11 website supported me well to get diverse perspectives of the topic of the week and to expand my network. I got to know more clearly that I prefer the open contributions of practitioners with their insecurities and questions to expert input who often publish rather „finalized“ ideas.
In our discussion my colleagues said that I could expand my network by participating in a conference as well. But I never build a network as easily and successfully as during change11. The continuity of this MOOC and the duration of 35 weeks were perfect for me to read posts, subscribe to some, come again, choose between interesting blogs and people. I believe that Siemens‘ principles of connectivism (diversity of opinions, connecting and nurturing nodes, to know more, liminal space) need continuity – and of course it is an advantage that I can participate in online „courses“ in a more flexible way.
Maybe I was „imprinted“ by my first MOOC experience and therefore I’m applying the principles of connectivism to every c/xMOOC I attend whereas my colleagues are more realistic and see the whole spectrum of MOOCs as they are.
Reflecting my participation in the change11 MOOC again I did a footprint as well which I will include in this post.
The footprint shows my very open learning process, I experienced emerging learning in all clusters. I was in the zone of emergent learning all the time, I didn’t perceive prescribed tasks. Some factors are in the sharp emergence zone: The openness was risky for me, it challenged me and I needed a lot of energy for this MOOC, it was experiential, I was acting autonomously and had a lot of responsibility to organize my learning.