How to design for transition: beyond MOOCs
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15 May 2017
Initially the hopes for MOOCs to function as a gateway for attracting learners onto fee-paying university programs were high. Data now available from MOOC providers on both sides of the Atlantic seems to run contrary to what universities might have expected or wished for though.
This reality was one of the many challenges we found ourselves confronted with when tasked with the design of a MOOC and a short course in EAP for learners worldwide at CEFR level B2 and ILETS 5-5.5 to be hosted on FL. Others were questions such as
How can you design a 6-week MOOC (24 hours study time overall) so that it leaves the participants motivated to learn more and leads them smoothly into a 4 times 6 week fee paying course?
What to cover and how – themes, language, function and skills - so that sufficient momentum is created for retention and progression despite the fact that MOOCs “suffer” from high drop-out rates?
In our attempt to meet these challenges we built in a cyclical approach to designing the learning journey for the participants involving the classic “input- transformation- output” process. In this process input is provided through a range of stimuli (audio, video, text), transformation represents interaction with the input – involving language and skills development – and output is the final product such as a summary, a report or an oral presentation as required for academic study in English. While the MOOC can only cater for shortened versions of these cycles, the course provides the space and time for more in depth engagement with the cycle.
Our main aim was to
a. model and foreground the approach in the MOOC so that the learners become familiar with it and develop understanding of its relevance
b. consolidate and build on it in the short course culminating in showing learners a variety of ways in which they can use the assimilated approach for independent study and lifelong learning.