Another one about MOOCs

Some weeks ago I presented a scoop about MOOC participants. It stated that

Old, qualified people seeking further qualifications are the ones attending

This fact was supported by studies before, but now there’s a new study. Does digital competence and occupational setting influence MOOC participation? Evidence from a cross-course survey from the Journal of Computing in Higher Education finds

  • a medium age of MOOC participants of 43 years
  • a percentage of 81 of MOOC participants with tertiary education
  • high digital competence of MOOC participants
  • up to 6 participation in MOOCs and 4 completion of MOOCs by current MOOC participants

Accordingly, the study concludes that

MOOCs were a well-accepted alternative for unemployed people with a higher educational level and those workers who did not received support for professional development

You know I completely agree to that. In the Western World, MOOCs serve primarly as a continued higher education tool for those people having time and/or additional interests. This may also be one of the reasons for the famous high drop-out rates of 90%. Drop-outs may be adults just wanting some snippets of a topic or just checking out if they’re really interested.

But it makes me wondering if the ongoing hype around MOOCs really leads to the propagandized free education for everyone (having a fast enough internet access). Some sources say yes- like the Harvard Business Review which sent a survey to 780,000 people, from 212 countries and territories, thereby finding that those with low status report more benefits form their MOOC education.

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It remains open why in OECD countries the numbers are different- is it a thing of perception?

But for me it still remains mainly a hype about a new technology one has to host (too), a new tool one has to play around with (too), a new way of marketing one has to apply (too). Otherwise it seems hard to explain why more and more MOOC platforms appear, at least in Europe with mooin, imooc, and many many more.

Another aspect is propagated by the European Union. The EU is supporting the EMMA project, the European Multiple MOOC Aggregator Platform. Their aim is to

provide a system for the delivery of free, open, online courses in multiple languages from different European universities to help preserve Europe’s rich cultural, educational and linguistic heritage and to promote real cross-cultural and multi-lingual learning

They offer MOOCs from 11 different universities in multiple languages, so you can learn about gamification in Italian, or Internet Search in English thought a Spanish university.

To me this looks quiet European: A lot of effort to keep this structure called EU together by trying to enable cultural exchange. But who the heck wants to learn gamification in Italian?

6311fb9efe4501e2728851998e889477cd545a39But wait…. They also offer very short MOOCs where distinguished personalities speak about topics of general relevance. Like David Weinberger about The Networking of Knowledge. So I have to stop here. Old, qualified me needs to attend another MOOC……

Just a scoop: MOOCs and higher education: evolution or revolution? | OUPblog

So today it’s just a scoop. I call it a „scoop“ as I got into curation by using scoop.it, a curation service on the web. When I started using it a few years ago, it was small and cozy. Today it is big, too big, but still a very intuitive service to store and share articles I read on the net and consider interesting. Curation is the most simple way to get into social learning and personal knowledge management. It’s actually seeking interesting sources, making sense of them by adding own insights and sharing it with your network. Some label curation as Knowledge Management 3.0, which I am currently writing about and will post to you soon.

But now for today:

Four years after the MOOCs craze began, where are we today? MOOCs provide a good example of our tendency to overestimate the significance of innovations in the short term whilst underestimating their long-term impact. The early predictions of a revolution in higher education proved false, and the idea that MOOCs could be the answer to the capacity problems of universities in the developing world was especially silly. Nevertheless, MOOCs are a significant phenomenon. Over 4,000 MOOCs are available worldwide and register 35 million learners at any given time. As they have multiplied they have diversified, so that, as this cartoon implies, the meaning of every word in the acronym MOOC is now negotiable.

I am also, however, a good illustration of why MOOCs have not sparked a revolution in higher learning. MOOCs are attractive to older people like me, who already have degrees and do not seek further qualifications, but who remain eager to acquire basic knowledge about an eclectic range of new topics. 

Read the whole article: MOOCs and higher education: evolution or revolution? | OUPblog
Link to Cartoon

Relatris‘ insight:

I couldn’t agree more. What John Daniel describes is exactly my own experience. I know people who did complete a MOOC (- I did several of them -), and they all were „older“, tech-savy and curios people with a degree, eager to learn new stuff but not willing (or able) to do a whole curriculum. There may be a range of reasons for that, but important for me is to keep MOOCs in mind as a tool for continued education of higher educated people with a tight agenda – if it wasn’t so costly and time-consuming to produce them…..

70-20-10: Origin, Research, Purpose – 70-20® Blog

70% Learning from challenging assignments, 20% from others and 10% from coursework (formal), that’s a golden rule of learning theory. But where does it come from? Is it proven? Bob Eichinger explains.

To Whom It Apparently Concerns,

Yes Virginia, there is research behind 70-20-10!

I am Robert W. Eichinger, PhD. I’m one of the creators, along with the research staff of the Center for Creative Leadership, of the 70-20-10 meme [the dictionary defines a meme as an “idea, behavior, or style that spreads from person to person”].

At the time in the late 1980s, Michael Lombardo and I were teaching a course at the Center called Tools for Developing Effective Executives. […] One of the study’s objectives was to find out where today’s leaders learned the skills and competencies they were good at when they got into leadership positions.The study interviewed 191 currently successful executives from multiple organizations.

Read more: 70-20-10: Origin, Research, Purpose – 70-20® Blog

Why Microlearning Drives Over 20% More Information Retention Than Long-Form Training

Overall, across the three scoring measures in the study, fine-grained performed 22.2% better than the blocked group and 8.4% better than the medium-grained group. The fine-grained group, with their “micro” content and frequent assessment questions, fared better than both competing groups in every category. From this study, it would appear that bite-sized content is, indeed, better.

The researchers mentioned two dynamics potentially in effect. First, the larger amount of material and questions given to the blocked group might have “put greater demands on learners,” resulting in them having to do more work to “access necessary information from their memory.” In other words, stockpiling information slowed down the process of retrieving it. Sounds familiar.

Second, the blocked group could have suffered from having less feedback than the medium and fine groups: “Longer study phases without learning questions may lead to uncertainty about whether they have understood all relevant content or not.”

Bingo.

via Report: Microlearning Is 22% Better Than Long-Form Training