"Making sense of that chaos is actually the heart of the learning experience. If an instructor makes sense of that chaos for you and gives you all of the readings and sets the path for you, then to a degree, the learner's experience is eviscerated." ~ George Siemens on Massive Open Online Classes

"MOOCs don't change the nature of the game; they're a playing a different game entirely." ~ Stephen Downes: "What a MOOC does" on Stephen's Web

MOOCs are referred to as courses, but do not have the same expectations and parameters


Teaching skills

Teaching "stuff"

"Students are adept at attempting to follow orders when they are given a steady diet of orders; it is reasonable to assume that they will learn to take responsibility when they are given responsibilities."

Connectivism and MOOCs
from http://www.flickr.com/photos/marksmithers/7934492158/


“Connectivism is the thesis that knowledge is distributed across a network of connections, and therefore that learning consists of the ability to construct and traverse those networks.”
"Connecting to one another to construct knowledge"
"Learning and training in this era will be successful if we learn how to connect and build relevant networks."
~ All from Stephen Downes

A More Thorough Analysis from George Siemens' Connectivism; A learning theory for the digital age:

Learning Trends:
  • Many learners will work in a variety of fields in the course of their lives
  • Informal learning is an important aspect of our knowledge acquisition, formal education plays a smaller role than in the past.
  • Learning is a continual, learning and work activities are often intertwined.
  • Technology is rewiring our brains.
  • "The organization and the individual are both learning organisms," and they are linked together.
  • Technology can manage or support many processes described by learning theories.
  • Understanding where to find information is supplanting knowing "how" and "what."

Principles of Connectivism excerpted directly from Siemens
  • Learning and knowledge rests in diversity of opinions.
  • Learning is a process of connecting specialized nodes or information sources.
  • Learning may reside in non-human appliances.
  • Capacity to know more is more critical than what is currently known
  • Nurturing and maintaining connections is needed to facilitate continual learning.
  • Ability to see connections between fields, ideas, and concepts is a core skill.
  • Currency (accurate, up-to-date knowledge) is the intent of all connectivist learning activities.
  • Decision-making is itself a learning process. Choosing what to learn and the meaning of incoming information is seen through the lens of a shifting reality. While there is a right answer now, it may be wrong tomorrow due to alterations in the information climate affecting the decision.

Connectivism also addresses the challenges that many corporations face in knowledge management activities. Knowledge that resides in a database needs to be connected with the right people in the right context in order to be classified as learning. Behaviorism, cognitivism, and constructivism do not attempt to address the challenges of organizational knowledge and transference.

Four Types of Activity in a Course Based on Connectivism:

  1. Aggregate - MOOCs have a huge amount of content, and produce more as they progress. Participants should pick and choose what is of interest, and appropriate
  2. Remix - Keep track of what is read, interact with; keep a record of the response. This where many of the related technology tools can come in.
  3. Repurpose - Create something new! Again, general and specialized technology can be used.
  4. Feed Forward - Share! Although this is a CHOICE, it is a strong tenet of the MOOC.

external image mooc-course-list.png

"It isn't about "Giving Knowledge for Free". http://www.oecd.org/document/41/0,3746,en_21571361_49995565_38659497_1_1_1_1,00.html That is, it isn't about the wonderful rich people engaging in charitable work as some sort of civic duty (as though that somehow made their wealth OK). It's about actually empowering people to develop and create their own learning, their own education. So not only do they not depend on us for learning, but also, their learning is not subject to our value-judgements and prejudices. We (those of working in MOOCs) have also been clear about the influences of people like Ivan Illich and Paulo Freire. And it's not just about 'flipping' courses. It's about reducing and eventually eliminating the learned dependence on the expert and the elite - not as a celebration of anti-intellectualism, but as a result of widespread and equitable access to expertise. None of this happens by magic. There isn't some 'invisible hand' creating a fair and equitable education marketplace. The system needs to be built with an understanding that personal empowerment and community networks are the goal and objective."