The 2.0x MOOC and the 1.0x Audiobook

06 Apr

By Joshua Kim

MOOCs have me worried. The ability to watch MOOC videos at 2.0x (double speed) is re-setting my brain’s expectations for information intake. I find that many conference presentations now feel unbearably slow. What my brain craves is information density.

It is not so much that MOOCs are killing my attention span. Or that I need to be constantly entertained and stimulated.  (What everyone was worried about with video games when I was growing up, and before that pinball, and before that comic books, etc. etc.). It is more that 2.0x MOOC videos are like broadband, and information impoverished presentations are like dial-up.

So why is it that I watch MOOC videos at double speed, but listen to audiobooks at 1.0x?  I hate audiobooks at faster than normal speed. There is something jarring and disconcerting about a book read faster than a normal speaking voice. My iPhone Audible app gives me the ability to listen at up to 3.0x normal speed. Who does that?

Maybe I’m participating in the wrong MOOCs.  Or maybe we need to do MOOCs differently.  The reason that I listen to MOOC videos as quickly as possible, and audiobooks as normally as possible, is that MOOCs and audiobooks serve different goals.  With an audiobook I’m as much savoring the experience as taking in the information.  Watching MOOC videos is all about information intake.

Why is it that I’ll happily listen to a 10 hour book, but I’m much more likely to engage in a MOOC video if it is under 8 minutes?

Why is it that I’ll almost always finish and audiobook that I start, but will seldom finish the MOOCs in which I enroll?

Perhaps the 2.0x MOOC video, and the 1.0x audiobook, has less to do with content, and more with format. When watching a MOOC video it is possible to pick up visual cues that enable fast watching. We are looking at screen content, or animations, or something (hopefully more than a talking head) on the screen. With an audiobook, all you have is what you hear.

[ Full article available at Inside Higher Ed: ]

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Posted by on April 6, 2015 in MOOCs in the News, Op-Ed



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