Learning Sketch

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Four: Connecting the Experience Connected Course

I think Bady (2012) makes several generalizations that does not provide the evidence the author previously mentioned. “The key difference between academics and venture capitalists, in fact, is not closed versus open but evidence versus speculation” (para. 13). Bady (2012) continues to cite that, “MOOCs are only better than nothing and speculation that this will someday change is worth pursuing, but for now, remains just that, speculation.” I think Bady is ignoring the realistic facts about who MOOCs do work for and the genuine success of traditional educations. Also, Bady’s concerns lack some supportive details, but there is some sound reasoning in the author’s words.

While I think Bady’s (2012) perspective is extreme in thinking that, “we stopped aspiring to provide the real thing for everyone” (para. 17), I think there should be some caution used when considering online courses that are created and not carefully evaluated. But, with something like the successive approximation model (SAM), or even rapid prototyping, learning experiences can be implemented that create quality education. The concern I started having as I reviewed the Connected Course is, “How do I know I’m grasping these concepts?”

With the Connected Course, I am looking to find this. Where does this course have the concept corrections taking place? Where does my experience and conceptual understanding get modified to ensure I know what I’m learning is correct? I get the why, but my concern is am I learning correctly? Mike Welch shows in his video “Why We Need a ‘Why?’” that the Khan Academy and Coursera both use analytical measurements of students’ performance to identify places where concepts need support. However, this still does not address the individual. This is something I worry about when it comes to connective learning. Even with a personal learning network (PLN) there is the opportunity that “group think” can cause a misconception to propagate—although I have to admit, the larger the network of connected contributors, I suspect the greater the chance is that my misconception could be corrected.

I am discovering though that with several of the contributors, that I’m able to draw on my personal experience and then relate it to their perspectives.  Meenoo Rami’s (2014) example in the Social Capital and PLNs: Discovering, Building, and Cultvating Networks of Learners video demonstrates how easy it is to get access to knowledge quickly through the connected structure like Twitter.

While I think Bady does provide some reasonable words of caution, I see that connected networks such as MOOC’s, but more along the lines of Twitter communities can provide the learning support necessary to ensure that concepts are delivered clearly. One thing this relies on though is a proactive learner. My fear is that while we have all these opportunities, that we might not achieve the right learning objectives if we don’t carefully assess the learner.

The last thing I want to address is the fear of public work. I think the Connected Course provides a significant dose of information. So much, that it is difficult to process all at once. With the additions of other links, blog posts, and networked sites, it is a challenge to stay with the course itself. What I am looking for is what motivates students, learners, or trainees to return to a course like the Connected Course. Would I follow this if it were not for my own academic pursuits?

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