eduMOOC and when do we start to learn?


It probably comes as no surprise that among the 2400 participants of the current massive open online course eduMOOC a sense of confusion has spread.

Typical questions raised are “what are the learning objectives?”, “what are MOOCs about?”, or “how do I master the abundant wealth of content?” In response help arrives from veteran MOOCers. This mostly comes in form of advice for un-learning: “forget normal course structures”, “forget catching up with all postings”, “set your own objectives”, etc.

Indeed, filtering noise and identifying the threads, tools, and groupings that are relevant to you is hard work, and there is always the danger that a MOOC gets drowned in anectotes and story telling, which may pose a stumbling block to the credibility and applicability of knowledge in its creation.

However that may be, the real questions remain unanswered: “what is learning in a MOOC?”, and “how do we know that we are learning”?

Here, I think, as well as in other free unstructured learning experiences lies an unpublished secret – the fact that learning is a feeling of wellbeing!

It’s the satisfactory feeling of serendipitous discovery, enlightened clarity, and, finally, the feeling of identity through the shared knowledge and experience that connects you to others, as well as the feeling that you yourself have made a step forward in your own existence. MOOCs as well as formal forms of education need to take more care that learning can be felt – not measured! – by those who it affects, the learners.

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One response to “eduMOOC and when do we start to learn?

  1. Benjamin Stewart 05/07/2011 at 13:18

    With MOOCs, like any other experience, we continue learning wherever we left off from a prior experience. That is, learning is the act of becoming someone that today you are not. It’s not about having a “feeling of identity” but rather taking one’s existing (online) identity and transforming it to something different – a key throughline for any MOOC. It’s not about “fitting in”, it’s about forming the connections around you that best serve you. That might mean being on the peripheral at times, and other times at the center. I would argue that MOOCs provide an ecosystem for learning and that it’s up to the individual to measure and feel (through reflection) how the experience contributes to one’s being.

    MOOCs benefit from having a set of desired results (i.e., goals) – something edumooc 2011 currently lacks, but that individual objectives will depend on the person. In my case, I was thrown off a bit at first that edumooc 2011 had no real objective, but once I thought about it (and started to interact with others), I quickly learned how to come up with some tentative expressive objectives for myself.

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