A reflection on the new model of MOOCs
By Trent Batson
MOOCs–massive open online courses–in the end may not be so “massive,” “open,” or even “courses” in the usual sense of the word. And, they may come to blend online learning with place-based instruction or real-world experiences, and not be quite so “online” as they started out to be (see “MOOC Students Who Got Offline Help Scored Higher, Study Finds,” June 11, 2013, Wired Campus).
At the Root of MOOCs: LIL
The upswing of interest in MOOCs is perhaps a harbinger of the speeding up of a historic move to learner-initiated learning (LIL). Learner-initiated learning is a term that may best describe the new forms of learning that have emerged to combine learning experiences from multiple venues. An internship here, a course there, job-related learning here, self study there and so on (often called DIY learning). Even students enrolled in degree programs do “swirling,” taking courses from colleges or universities away from their home institution. Or, as an added option now, learners may take a MOOC, or use open education resources as part of or in addition to assigned materials. LIL is also related to “self-directed learning” or “self-initiated learning,” two research threads that began in the last century (cf http://selfdirectedlearning.com/ or http://www.infed.org/archives/e-texts/hiemstra_self_direction.htm or http://aeq.sagepub.com/content/29/3/170).
Learner-initiated learning occurs in formal and informal, moderated and un-moderated learning experiences. In the last 5 years, since the Great Recession began, learner-initiated learning has become a mode of life for many people who have had to change jobs, enter a new field, develop new skills to move up, or who are now just part of the new-job-every-three-years pattern so common in our economy now. The term LIL recognizes that, from the perspective of a career or a life, the learner has had to take charge of her or his own learning.
[ Full article available at Campus Technology: http://campustechnology.com/articles/2013/06/19/moocs-and-learner-initiated-learning.aspx ]