From Courses to Communities

The long tail of open learning – free online courses of any type, cMOOCs, xMOOCs – is the community that forms around each one.  This has been my personal experience, and one we don’t usually hear discussed.  The course may not ever be completed, but the people we virtually bump into often share common interests and become a part of our PLNs.  In some cases we already know them from other virtual learning environments.  Interests intersect, and we bump into others – nodes in our networks.  This has been so valuable.  This article is from DML Central.

“When I started collaborating with Mitchel Resnick and Natalie Rusk at the MIT Media Lab we set out to design and offer a somewhat different online course. It would be easy to say now that creating an online learning community was our intention from the start, but the truth is, we were a little surprised ourselves, surprised and excited. Learning Creative Learning, the online course we created, became a springboard for learning with family, friends, and colleagues and turned into an ongoing community.”

via From Courses to Communities | DMLcentral.

Instructional Design Based on Cognitive Theory

 

There are a number of instructional design and cognitive theories, but Florida Institute of Technology is using Mayer’s Cognitive Theory of Multi-Media Learning for instructional design.

“This theory posits the following:

The brain processes auditory and visual information differently

There are limits to how much auditory and visual information people can process

People must be actively engaged in order to move knowledge from working memory to long-term memory”

While seemingly an expanded view of experiential or action learning, both theories were developed long before recorded audio and video were being used extensively for learning.  Processing of audio and video is very different, and the theory suggests that video images provides an extra layer of difficulty (or required filter) to process content that might inhibit learning.

Recommendations for efficacy are recommended:

“Short, focused lessons

Proper balance of text, image, and narration

Avoid distractions

Think like an instructional designer”

Full article at Faculty Focus, link below.

 

via Instructional Design Based on Cognitive Theory | Faculty Focus.

Shifting Toward An Architecture of Participation

 

Learning is becoming more entrepreneurial than didactic.  It is more learner-centered than teacher-controlled.  We might use the phrase autodidactic for the self-directed learner, but the way Steven Wheeler refers to it as entrepreneurial struck me as more accurate.  TeachThought highlighted one of his recent presentations, which clarified the differences between knowledge, wisdom, and critical awareness.   They are good, and accurate.  He believes that one side-effect of this evolution is a lack of consensus on what “learning” is – just as I believe there is lack of consensus about education.  What is an educated person?

 

“Architecture of Participation: 7 Characteristics of Future Learning

Even more interesting is the “architecture of participation,” supercharged by social media and characterized by:

1. Collaborating

2. Tagging

3. Voting

4. Networking

5. User-Generated Content

6. Tools

7. Sharing”

via Shifting Toward An Architecture of Participation.

Start Up, Slow Down – Entrepreneurial Research in Higher Ed

Entrepreneurship is encouraged and supported in academia, at every level of study.  At MIT, doctoral students now weigh the pros and cons of pausing their academic pursuits (or dropping out) to develop their work commercially against completing their doctorate.  Do they let licenses run out, developed inside of the University?  Or do they stay in school?  It is hard to run a company and do the work required for graduation, but where is their obligation?  This article in The Chronicle describes some examples.    “The public has invested in university research and will now reap the benefits. At the bottom of these initiatives, though, are students like Ms. Brikner, who now must balance two obligations to MIT: as student and licensee.”

via Start Up, Slow Down – Research – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Our Education System Conflicts With the Science of Learning

 

Our brains are not designed to learn in what we consider a typical setting.  Classrooms and lectures are recent constructs, and in fact the brain is a “forager” well equipped to collect information informally, on the go.  Benedict Carey shares his theory on Big Think, where he explains there no one-size-fits all tactic for learning…

“He explains the importance of sleep, as it’s the brain’s method of consolidating a day’s lessons. He defends the act of forgetting, as it allows for stronger retention after re-learning like the building of a memory muscle. Daydreaming and distraction, in certain contexts, can actually boost your learning ability.”

via Our Education System Conflicts With the Science of Learning | Big Think | IdeaFeed.

Digital Media Plus Teaching Equals Support for Freedom

There is ongoing debate about technology in the classroom, erupting again in the past week when Clay Shirky (NYU) wrote an article about his classroom. He is no longer allowing laptops or devices.  This survey of 10,000 high school students asked if technology made them smarter, not as smart, or if they believed the tool was not important – it’s how we use it.  They chose the last view.  From MediaShift/PBS.

“A new survey of more than 10,000 high school students lends support to that last view. Amid an explosion in social and mobile media – their media – high school students are supporting freedom of expression in record numbers, and are even more likely to do so if they also have had a class in the First Amendment.”

via News for High Schools: Digital Media Plus Teaching Equals Support for Freedom | Mediashift | PBS.

15 Questions To Help Students Respond To New Ideas

 

In learning and its design, we have always referred to essential or generative questions.  Through the use of questions, deeper learning objectives are often recognized.  Thoughts are generated and connections are made.  In TeachThought, Terry Heick asks us to think about how we can use questions in ways that work best with the Google generation.  Information is ubiquitous, but helping them slow down to navigate information requires supporting them.  Using these questions is a way of teaching them to think. “Metacognition isn’t a matter of a “lesson,” or a teacher telling students it’s something they should do. Rather, it’s a matter of habit. Habits are everything. So, below are 15 questions to help students respond to new ideas, and begin to establish the kinds of habits that make thinkers, and just maybe, starting telling you what you want to hear.”

via 15 Questions To Help Students Respond To New Ideas.