How MOOCs Could Reform Education Completely by Accident

When we saw the first reports about MOOCs and lack of  completion, many of us were not surprised.  We were also not surprised to see the demographic statistics – more than half of the learners in most courses had undergraduate degrees, and a large percentage had masters degrees and many even higher.  This article from The Atlantic discusses something that may be happening subliminally (or purposefully) – my suspicion is that teachers don’t think “I’m going to do some professional development now” or “I’m going to watch a master teacher teach my class” as this article suggests.  I do think that getting new ideas for classes is important, and both teachers and professors are probably  participating in MOOCs for that reason, to a degree.

I would also propose that they participate for the social aspect – to meet other educators and like minded people who like to learn.  I wrote an article in Medium over a year ago making an analogy between MOOCs and large scale online games (MMORPGs) because I saw learning as enjoyable for this population, much like games.

It’s a good article, and worth reading.

“What jumped out for me was that … as many as 39 percent of our learners [in MOOCs overall] are teachers,” said Isaac Chuang, one of the study’s lead researchers. In some of Harvard’s MOOCs, half the students were teachers. And in “Leaders of Learning”—a course out of its Graduate School of Education—a whopping two-thirds of participants identified as such.

via How MOOCs Could Reform Education Completely by Accident – The Atlantic.

5 Tech Implementation Challenges for Teachers

EmbarassingThe mechanics of technology integration, as well as the adoption of any new pedagogical paradigm, involves change.  With change comes the unexpected, which we can’t always prepare for.  We can do all the social learning and lay as much groundwork as possible, but we don’t usually anticipate some of the basic hurdles.  This article from Edudemic articulates what many of us have experienced.

 

“In all the excitement around what technology can do for education, the frustrations of the teachers faced with using it often get drowned out. Even educators who embrace the idea of using more technology with their students have found that it brings its share of challenges. And many of them feel powerless to address those challenges on their own.”

via 5 Tech Implementation Challenges for Teachers | Edudemic.

Social Learning Has Never Been About a Single Tool

There has been commentary in “best of” 2015 predictions that social learning is a fad.  For those who learned about social learning not as a theory but as something people were talking about last year, I can understand that.  Certainly there were a number of books and articles that made it all sound new.   It’s not new.  People have always learned socially.  Observing this, Alfred Bandura brought us social learning theory, which suggests that learning is most effective in social context.  Bandura published his first findings in 1963, but this was an observation of what was already happening.  Further research and theories, such as 70/20/10 examined by Center for Creative Leadership espoused that only 10% of on the job work is learned formally, 20% through mentorship or coaching, and 70% in social or networked work environments.  Charles Jennings has been further expanding on this theory, where 70% is experiential, on the job (and social) learning.

This article from Nick Leffler explains how social learning is not a “tool” in learning and development, but something much more important.

“People have used it to:

Develop their professional knowledge.

Learn about their hobbies.

Learn how to be more efficient at a job task.

Learn about what they didn’t know they didn’t know.

Learn about what they knew they didn’t know.

And more!

People have done all of this without L&D even being involved and the messiness and slowness that training and courses brings along with it.

Social learning will only grow, and L&D will have to catch up the further it falls behind. Weaving social learning into eLearning was only the first attempt of L&D mainstream to deal with social learning that inevitably happens. L&D has the unfortunate craving to control the experience and make everything pass through their gates.

L&D will fail at controlling, just as IT has failed at controlling. People are going to learn socially just as they are going to bring their own IT equipment to the office.

It’s up to L&D to figure how to work WITH social learning and empower people to use it even more effectively to learn, not fight it and control it and make it go through their gates.”

via Social Learning Has Never Been About a Single Tool — Technkl: Nick Leffler’s Portfolio & Learning Insights.

‘If You Can’t Measure It, You Can’t Manage It’: Not True

So much thought goes into measurement.  In education and in the workplace, the metrification of society is more and more important – on paper.  We say it is, we make rubrics, we create goals, we do all sorts of things to measure.  But when it comes down to it, “human waves have to be felt.”  This Forbes article explains how we focus on particles, but that’s not the way the world works and not the way it can truly be measured (and should it be?)  Not in education, and not in the workplace.

“Great employees and great leaders manage the waves all the day, unmeasured and too often unseen. They manage customer relationships in the moment and over the long term. How do they do that so well, without benefit of yardsticks to guide them? How do they finesse and intuit and consult their way to the brilliant results they achieve, without the reports and tests that slow us down and annoy us in every other professional arena? Thank God, human processes like sticky conversations and the energy in a classroom or a conference room can’t be measured.”

via ‘If You Can’t Measure It, You Can’t Manage It’: Not True.

The TWO roles for L&D in the modern workplace: Learning Managers & Learning Consultants

 

Learning Consultants, who are a part of the Learning and Development team inside an organization, are ideal for supporting teams and individuals when their learning is self-managed.  Learning Consultants can recommend activities or activity pathways, act as a mentor, or guide a team activity.  Jane Hart expands on the concept in her article.

“Consequently, there are some really interesting new “blended training” initiatives appearing on the scene,  However, the role of L&D has itself not changed; most still see themselves as Learning (or Training) Managers who take on the total responsible for designing, delivering and managing a training solution”.

via The TWO roles for L&D in the modern workplace: Learning Managers & Learning Consultants | Learning in the Social Workplace.