Kudos to @JayCross for getting together some of the real titans of #connectivism and #moocs! As I listened to each side of the debate cMOOC and xMOOC, it became clear to me that what was really missing in the debate was the corporate side of the equation. As someone with over 20 years of corporate instructional technology design experience and a student of connectivism, my voice was not represented in this meeting of the titans.
What the cMOOC-ers get right
@gsiemens connectivist model is a reflection of ‘learning through connections’ that makes wonderful sense in this world of an over-abundance of information. We can’t know everything there is to know. We have to (and we are) depending on the information that we need to be stored someplace – primarily located through a Google search. Taking this idea forward into a course that requires the learner to take control over his learning by creating connections and smaller communities as well as artifacts is the first truly innovative approach to learning. MOOCs were meant to be a different way of looking at formal courses in higher ed. Kudos to those prof’s who are willing to give up some control and let the learners run the asylum (oh, I meant to say course).
What the xMOOC-ers don’t get
So, along came the “old-school” universities and the for-profits that wanted to jump on the bandwagon of this ‘hip’ new term…but, they didn’t bother (apparently) to look at the underlying learning theory before they started to convert the ‘same-old, same-old’ behaviorist or constructivist course to a massive, free group of learners. So, there is still talk for them about how do we ‘pass’ or ‘fail’ students through the completion of tests. Uh, is that really what connectivism and MOOCs are all about?? I don’t think so…
What the corporate world should learn from this
MOOCs, are not just useful or relevant for higher ed. We in the corporate world can learn a lot from them. Why not use MOOCs as one methodology for meeting the 80% of learning (according to @JayCross) that happens non-formally in the workplace? Instead of centralizing all learning from the Training or HR departments, let those groups focus on the organization and construction of a central learning repository (not an LMS!!) and let the real experts lead the learning.
In MOOCs, the facilitation (not TEACHING) is spread out with different experts taking the lead on their subject matter expertise. The MOOC participants have discussions, post reflections on blogs, generate YouTube or video clips that help them to surface their learning. All of these artifacts could be centrally stored in the central learning repository. The training group would be responsible for making sure that the content is properly tagged for downstream searching. So, when the learner needs to refresh or add to their current knowledge, they can perform a search and learn from their peers using the artifacts in the learning repository.
Instead of spending countless hours prodding SMEs to work within the ADDIE model and transcribing what they have to say into courses that are quickly outdated, why can’t we in corporate training, ask our SMEs to give an hour of their time to present in an online meeting, at a scheduled time, that allows participants to have a real discussion. The session recoding could then be stored in the same repository. Wouldn’t that be a more effective use of their time? Then, they might be more willing to give of their time to meet the rapid information changes.
Having all of this captured intellectual property in one place, with the entire organization responsible for (and reward for) contributing would solve some of the biggest challenges of how to meet that 80% of learning that the Training group can never hope to meet, but the staff really needs.
MOOCs won’t be the panacea for all corporate learning ….but why not as part of an overall strategy?