How do we know when something using Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) is actually going to work? With experience I would say most of us develop a “Gut instinct” about this but I thought I would try to do something a bit more structured.
So I am signed up to the #edcmooc and it starts this monday. However I have already been very busy on google+ with all my new “fr-aingers” (a word coined by Ary Aranguiz over on “All the worlds a MOOC… ). Lots of good links, ideas, conversions, videos etc and the course hasn’t even started yet.
As these things tend to do in eLearning/TEL settings, there has been a fair bit of discussion around the learning processes involved in the MOOC (in a way for some of us this meta course “Whats the use of a MOOC” is a large bit of why we signed up).
2 clear Anti-mooc themes have emerged
- The anti-hype: there are a fair few stories on the web now about how MOOCs are the end of civilization/will make us all unemployed/only have 5% of students complete etc
- The too noisy/too busy/too little time: Because there are a lot of people all posting stuff others are getting scared they wont keep up. There have been dozens of posts by people worried they might not keep up.
So can a MOOC succeed? More importantly will this one and also how many of us brave new moocers will still be here at the end of the 5 week course?
Well, fortunately, about 5 months back I was looking building something that would work as a quick checklist to see if TEL projects were likely to work.
I have always been a fan of Maslow’s Hierachy of Needs in relation to learners (it’s not perfect and it’s slightly overused in Teacher training – but that’s probably because it does so quickly give you a model for what your students’ needs might be)
So I spent some time and came up with Gliddon’s Heirachy of TEL. I hope that this can be used a a rapid checklist for projects/training plans/new systems in TEL.
So looking at #EDCMOOC and starting at the bottom of the pyramid
Functional Technology – yes clearly; Google, Facebook, Twitter, Slideshare all mature robust systems.
Reliability/Usability – again yes, the technology is supremely unlikely to fail
Training/Culture – this is where it gets interesting, for this MOOC it’s a yes. For most of the students, using technology is an accepted practice and, for those who haven’t, the community has been happy to support and provide links to training/good practice etc. Would this be true of all MOOCS – no. A MOOC on subject where a large number of the students were unfamiliar with technology may run into problems.
Recognition – this level is where I think the MOOCs having online communities really helps. When I got +1’s, comments and re-posts on items I posted to the community I was surprised by how much validation I felt. I suspect that as the course progresses a number of the MOOCers will find that they don’t want to drop out because of the recognition they are getting from their peers on the course.
Professionalism – This is the highest level of engagement and will not apply to everyone who is taking the MOOC, but for a lot of us experimenting with new online things is our job. At my University those of us taking the MOOC have a brief weekly meeting in the diary and taking it is seen as part of our professional development (albeit mainly done in our own time). The certificate will be nice but I think more valuable will be the recognition of our peers, I certainly think it’s going to expand my professional network a bit.
So it looks like it’s going to be a fun 5 weeks