Kelly's (late) reflection

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Kelly Edmonds
8 March 2013

Situation

Where are you coming from? What is the context in which you are working and participating in OLDS MOOC?

I have a company in Canada where I develop instructional products for clients in the context of e-learning. This includes online learning program and course designs, and development of online courses, e-tutorials, webpages, etc. My clients range from academia to the corporate world (i.e. training).

I love to learn and I know I must keep atop of latest trends in technology yet continue to explore and reflect on learning in our current time. As well, I base my work and thinking on theory – that has always worked for me.

Task

What did you hope to achieve? What were your goals in joining OLDS MOOC? 

I didn’t really have a project in mind or on the drawing board but rather was a ‘shopper’ or lurker. I was immediately impressed (and still am) with the quality of the program and presenters that I knew I would learn from the best. I really enjoy following developments in the UK and gravitate to their work/presentations/resources.

Actions

What did you do? What were the main events, interactions, practices and activities in which you participated? What were the obstacles - and how did you tackle them?

I tried to participate as best I could with odd comments, but mostly reviewed the presentations and explored the tools and resources. I felt like I was letting someone down but not being more active but I didn’t have the time or any special project or challenge to explore at this time.

Results

What were the outcomes of your participation? Did you meet your goals? What went well, what didn't? What unexpected outcomes did you notice?

I found I gathered some great tools but more important, I was reminded by great instructional designers to deeply think about design and take the time to reflect and plan before composing a piece of work.

The big ‘aha’ for me was to thoroughly consider the context of a learner - difficult to do but so important. I think about the many who are unsatisfied with e-learning at this time and that challenges me to approach such learning with more intention and perhaps slightly differently. I roll my eyes at messages ‘out there’ on 5 tips to a successful online course. In the end, the proof is in the pudding.

Reflections

What did you learn? What advice could you give others?

I struggled with the MOOC structure (a bit over structured) and Cloudworks (not a common or intuitive platform) and this provided me with some reflection on any future MOOC I may decide to deliver (with a team!). I think MOOCs are an interesting phenomenon in education and evident of the OER movement; however, by learning from them we can build them better. I think MOOCs are very much an organic environment of building distributed knowledge within and across networks (Stephen Downes perception) that is unpredictable and somewhat uncontrollable. This lends to informal learning in a crazy connected world. I believe MOOCs also require different ways to support their learners, but I haven’t really fashioned what that would look like, yet. This is my 4th MOOC and I will attend another one, after a wee break. :0)

 

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Helen Crump
12:21pm 9 March 2013


Nice to meet you, Kelly, and hear about your OLDSMOOC learning narrative. First of all, I'd like to say that I agree with you when you say the MOOC was a bit "over strucured" and the Cloudworks platform is neither common or intuitive. Having said that though, the "over structuring" probably helped me because before the course started I knew nothing about the discipline of learning design. The Cloudworks platform is another story, I think it inhibits people from making conections within the course; I've only just met you, yet you've been here all along.

Also, like you, designing for learner context resonated greatly with me. I read a blog post this week by Donald Taylor that hit on the same point,  "interpreting" context to add real value to learning. Here's the link: http://donaldhtaylor.wordpress.com/2013/03/05/ld-and-content-creation-12/

Great to hear your story.

Kelly Edmonds
9:57pm 10 March 2013


Thank you Helen. I have been enjoying your posts as well. And thanks for the post to Don's latest blog - he brings forward some good ideas for learning in today's world.

Ida Brandão
8:53am 11 March 2013


Hi Kelly, 

I think it's interesting to have a viewpoint from a peer that works in a private company. How MOOCs fit in business? 

I share your opinion about the quality of the MOOCs, I also have been positively surprised with the ones I've participated in, with different purposes and different methods, some like OLDS MOOC others like Google Search. The common positive characteristics: the fact that they were well structured and organized, with very good resources, with qualified facilitators and support teams and good feedback. 

It's always a challenge to meet the expectations of a diversified and huge target public, people from all over the world, with different backgrounds and contexts. 

The fact that people are invited to join for free and with no compulsory conditions, brings the best of voluntary and motivational reasons, but it also may bring superficial and erratic participation, no full engagement or deep involvement. A recent report from the Duke University that has organized its first MOOC last year reffered that of the few thousands that had enrolled only about 260 completed and got some sort of certfication. Anyhow, I think that people always learn something even if they don't follow step by step or if they lack effective participation and prefer the role of lurkers. 

I think that online learning requires certain type of learners' profile, people that are much driven and self-motivated and disciplined to perform the activities proposed and achieve the goals. In my opnion, the more immersed you are, the more time you take to read, analyse, synthesize, produce, communicate, more consistent the learning achievements. 

We all have many other priorities in life that may interrupt or leave little time to dedicate to free MOOCs. Sometimes one has the best intentions to dedicate more time and unforeseen situations may occur. 

The first part of my career was dedicated to the organization of staff training (civil servants)  and sometimes the discussion would turn to the advantages of paid courses, even symbolic payments. When people have to pay they value and invest more on the learning process and outcomes. It's always difficult to evaluate and measure the impacts of a course or learning experience in the life of a participant. If it's something very operative, it's simpler, either you can perform mechanically what you have learnt or not, but for more elaborate learning outcomes it's not so linear. 

I'm pro open and pro free, but how to make MOOCs sustainable for small organizations I don't have the answer. Unless they are used for promotional purposes of a company or institution. 

Long live MOOCs!

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