The Virtuous Middle Way

David Wiley, iterating toward openness, Sept 30, 2011
Commentary by Stephen Downes

David Wiley states his case (and takes a swipe at MOOCs en passant. "People can learn under situations whose structure is completely self-determined," he writes, "however, the purpose of the machinery of education is to improve the efficiency of the learning process... You can’t – with intellectual honestly – claim to oppose structure and disdain learning objectives on the one hand and then aggregate dozens of resources and technologies for students that will help them learn more about a certain topic (including tutorials on how to use them effectively!)." I would just love to see how he cashes out "efficiency" in this context - is it "most learning in least time?" or "biggest bang for smallest buck?" Or what? Moreover, how is it that selecting a bunch of resources presupposes a given learning objective. What's the formula for deducting a learning object from a set of materials? The best sets support many objectives. And that's the point - you can help people find their way around a city, or you can tell them where to go - and if you don't appreciate the difference between those, then you won't appreciate the difference between what we're doing and what Wiley wants us to think we're doing.
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