OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

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March 6, 2012

Learning Without Training
Jay Cross, Internet Time, March 6, 2012.

Once upon a time many years ago I wrote that the way to evaluate learning is not to look at test scores or even grades or educational outcomes, but rather to more significant statistics - poverty and employment, health, criminality, and happiness. They are not only more reflective of whether learning actually occurred, they also reflect why we want learning to occur. Think of it as the add-on Kirkpatrick Level 5 for society as a whole. Having reviewed that, now consider this Jay Cross piece in the light of the criticisms of MOOCs being described by David Wiley (below; in his inimitable style Wiley of course could say he isn't making the criticisms, just bringing them up). There won't be any pre-test or post-test for the 'social business learning ecosystem', nor should there be. But companies know that this stuff relates to their bottom line. Or they should. As should society.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Assessment, Online Learning]

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EDGEX 2012: About Disruptive Education
Sahana, ID and Other Reflections, March 6, 2012.

I am as I write on my way to EdgeX in Delhi (this post is being created in the airport at Brussels). It's my first trip to India and it brings together a number of the people who have in an important way (I think) been reshaping education. "If you believe that the current education system is failing us, is no longer sustainable, is neither fair nor equitable, then this is the conference for you. If you have ever been inspired by the writings of Paulo Freire (Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Pedagogy of Hope), then this conference is for you. It is about disruptive education. About freeing education from the shackles of a building (call it school, college, what you will) and democratizing it." That, in one paragraph, is what we're about.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Schools, Online Learning]

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Thoughts on Conducting Research in MOOCs
David Wiley, iterating toward openness, March 6, 2012.

More criticism of MOOCs because learning can't be evaluated in them like it can traditional courses. "This makes MOOCs almost completely immune to rigorous investigation with regard to how they function as a means of facilitating learning." Well - no. That's like saying you can't rigorously evaluate a transportation system because everybody's going to a different place - or no place in particular. So it may be better to ask - as Wiley does - "did engaging in a unique set of activities help this person reach the specific outcome(s) they were hoping to achieve when they enrolled in the MOOC?" But again - it's like nobody ever reads my work on knowledge. Asking for specific answers from fuzzy reality is like asking for restaurant recommendations from a raccoon - even if you get an answer, pretty much any sense has been lost in the translation.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Traditional and Online Courses, Online Learning]

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MOOC – Critical Reflection
Sui Fai John Mak, Learner Weblog, March 5, 2012.

files/images/6432238753_b8ab0027c9_o.jpg, size: 62622 bytes, type:  image/jpeg Some response posts. In this first one John Mak comments on Clark Quinn and an earlier post by Tony Bates. In another post he responds to Tony Bates's most recent post. This is also a follow-up to Dave Cormier's excellent observations. He writes, "MOOCs offer a complex ecosystem in which you ‘can’ learn, not one where you ‘will learn.’ It doesn’t come with many guarantees. Rhizomatic learning is a complex way of learning, not the easiest way to learn to tie your shoes."

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files/images/Student-at-computer-at-home1.jpg, size: 41841 bytes, type:  image/jpeg
A student guide to studying online
Tony Bates, Online Learning and Distance Education Resources, March 4, 2012.

More goodness from Tony Bates as he outlines the nature and purpose of guides to online studying. "Well designed courses do provide strong guidelines for when work, and what kind of work (writing assignments, tests or online class discussion), needs to be done. Poorly designed courses place much more onus on the student to organize their work, although a well designed program will deliberately encourage more and more independence and self-management as students progress through the program."

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Assessment]

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With Google’s new privacy policy, who needs Bill C-30?
N. Ghoussoub, Piece of Mind, March 4, 2012.

There is no provacy, and if this surveillance is ever turned to enforcement (as the contenbt industries would very much like to see) then it would be ubiquitous. "The same database will contain everything Google has on you: your browsing history, search history, geo-location coordinates, your favorite videos, diary, the stories you read, the books you download, you name it." If you are reading unauthorized content, Google will know. And the price government, corporations, and even school divisions would be willing to pay for this may6 be too much for Google (and its shareholders) to resist.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Schools, Video, Ubiquitous Internet, Google, Privacy Issues]

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Revisiting Learning Styles
Christy Tucker, Experiencing E-Learning, March 1, 2012.

A writer looks into learning styles as part of David Kelly's Learning Styles Awareness day and concludes, unsurprisingly, that "the research support for learning styles is pretty flimsy." I won't even bother defending the approach that says instructors should adapt their teaching to suit individuals' learning styles; neither the defense nor the refutation of learning styles within the instructivist paradigm is interesting to me (though it seems to me that the opponents of learning styles just can't let it go). But of more interest: would learners, left to their own devices, adopt different learning styles? I think they would - which is a prima facie argument that learning styles exist. Or conversely, that the people who oppose learning styles must base their argument on their lack of utility, not their lack of existence.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Learning Styles, Research, Online Learning, Paradigm Shift]

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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