Block 2 Activity 13: Reading

For this activity I have chosen Kop, R. (2011) The Challenges to connectivist learning on open online networks: learning experiences during a massive open online course.

  • the context of learning has changed and we can now learn from/in places outwith the control of organisations and institutions.
  • Sfard (1998) suggested that learning came through acquisition and participation.  Acquisition is acquired knowledge which has been prepacked by educators – a more behaviourist/cognitive approach.  Participation involves participation – a more social constructivist, action theory and communities of practice approach (Lave & Wenger, 2002).  This participation approach also fits with connectivist theory.

Challenges to Connectivist Learning

Self directed learning

  • learner needs to be autonomous and learn independently and needs to be emerged in aggregation, relation, creation and sharing activities.
  • Learner needs to take responsibility for gathering relevant information, manage their own time, set objectives and targets.
  • In an adult education classroom the use of technologies could be a barrier to learning.
Presence
  • the closer the ties between people involved the higher the level of presence and the higher level of engagement in the learning activity. This is similar to views presented in article by Ferguson & Sharples (2014) where they discuss networks set up on first MOOC moving on to 2nd MOOCs.  People’s intrinsic motivation is a driver.
  • Garrison, Anderson and Archer (2000) discussed the need for three presences – cognitive, social and teacher (in formal education settings).
Critical Literacies needed
  • need to be creative and innovative thinkers, competent in using ICT, flexible, adaptive, able to solve problems, learn to edit & produce e w information in a variety of formats.
When researching Connectivist MOOCs Kop found that a place where people felt comfortable, trusted and valued was essential.  This place created a community where dialogue happens, personal meets social with a specific purpose of learning.
Plearn (PLE developed by The National Research Council of Canada’s Institute for Information Technology ) and PLENK (2010) were examples of connectivist MOOCs under development.
In concluding her article Kop states that her research has shown that the social presence of facilitators and participants enhanced the forming of community.  Although aggregation, relation, creation and sharing were aspects of Connectivism she found that many participants were not engaging with the creation aspect. She suggested that this may down to the time participants needed to digest readings and resources.   Learning still took place with the creativity aspect.
Reflection:
What is it that is important for a MOOC?  Is it that it meets the needs of its users?   Is it that it meets the needs of individual or combined learning theories? Is it just another tool for learning in a digital environment?  Questions for investigating by me. Looking at this article it would suggest that critical literacies are needed to be able to successfully access and participate in a MOOC, however if MOOCs are used to engage learners on a journey to further/higher education institutions as well as personal learning, for some participants this may present a significant barrier to learning and participation and ways will be needed to overcome these.
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