MOOCs outside of Higher Ed

Posted March 2, 2013 by Christin Manning
Categories: Uncategorized


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?


Intro for ETMOOC

Posted January 14, 2013 by Christin Manning
Categories: ETMOOC

Intro for ETMOOC.

Intro for ETMOOC

Posted January 14, 2013 by Christin Manning
Categories: ETMOOC


Hello all!

By way of a short introduction….I am a student of connectivism and am currently studying this theory for my PhD dissertation. At the same time, I am the advisor for a small group of students at UMASS-Boston who are all participating in this MOOC for credit. As a small, but merry band, we have talked about MOOCs as part of the Adult Learning Theory course that I teach. We are planning on learning with all of you and, at the same time, studying how this whole thing works.

I’m glad to be starting on this adventure with the rest of you all.


CoP vs. Connectivism

Posted December 11, 2012 by Christin Manning
Categories: Uncategorized

Tags: ,

I’ve been trying to think about a Venn diagram or a tabular comparison for CoP and Connectivism. There  always seems like there are some really interesting and significant overlaps that always bring me back to “what is so different about these two learning theories?” Let’s see if I can make sense of this by writing about it.





There is one body of knowledge about the practice. It can evolve over time with input from the participants

There is not one body all-encompassing body of knowledge. Information is in a constant state of evolution and creation.


The new entrant into the community is trying to acquire as much of the body of knowledge as possible.
Learners can learn with and from each other informally.

All learners create new knowledge that equally contributes to the body of knowledge.


There are experts who demonstrate mastery of the body of knowledge. They are the primary central accumulators of the knowledge.

Expertise is bestowed on an individual by their social capital (connections). To maintain this status, they must continually contribute to the body of knowledge.


So, it seems to me that the biggest overlap and why CoP resonates when we talk about the connectivist learning theory is that concept of how a new learner enters into the society/community.  Situated learning (legitimate peripheral participation) is a great explanation for how we start entering the community. We tend, initially, to watch and listen to the conversation as ‘lurkers.’ As we gain confidence in our understanding of the body of knowledge and the knowledge creation process, we feel more confident in being able to contribute to the group by sharing our own learning experiences.

So, is that is where the overlap begins and ends?

Are Lurkers Bad People?

Posted December 8, 2012 by Christin Manning
Categories: Uncategorized

Or are they just misunderstood?

I stand at the precipice of participation on a daily basis. I receive the compilation of postings and conversations of about a dozen or so LinkedIn groups. Almost daily, I see a conversation to which I could contribute, but don’t. Why is that?

I follow several thought leaders of whom I am in awe. I receive their tweets. I read their journal articles. I sit and think about what they have to say and wonder if I will ever be as eloquent or knowledgeable. It must be, I think to myself, that they are just far more educated and knowledgeable than I will ever be. Or, that they have far more time on their hands than I do as a poor student in the midst of trying to make sense of data.

In reading Carmen Tschofen and Jenny Mackness’ article in the January 2012 IRRODL journal, I saw a reference to George Siemens’ interpretation of lurkers as ‘takers’ – and not in a good way. The proposition that all connectivist participants have an obligation to the community to contribute misses and glosses over some of the reasons why a lurker (like me) may not put themselves out there.

I return to my question – why don’t I post when I see a conversation that I could contribute to? Is it because I feel that my opinion is of no value to anyone else but me? Perhaps. Am I afraid to put myself in the public eye?  That’s probably not it. I rarely remember the names of most of the posters on a LinkedIn conversation. So, why would anyone else remember my name? Am I just a selfish, ‘bad’ person? That might be it…I’ve been called worse J

As Tschofen and Mackness continue, “there are different dimensions of autonomy involved in choosing to participate in obvious and visible ways. With this understanding, the interpretation of certain types of participation (or perceived nonparticipation) as selfishness and the denial of community values seems to reflect a personal worldview and may fail to acknowledge the complexity of individuals engaged in connective spaces.”  Given this, I wonder if Seimens has ever been silent in a group? Does he see value in listening? Someone has to be silent while the other speaks…or it will end up as just a cacophony of noise.

So, I will conclude that all of us listeners are not necessarily bad people…just waiting for a break in the conversation where we feel confident and comfortable enough to jump in.

Web / Network – a self-policing society

Posted November 14, 2012 by Christin Manning
Categories: Uncategorized

Listening to @ReubenTozman today as he presented his thoughts about where we are heading with learning for the @ASTDTech. I totally agree that LMS’ lock information away and make it difficult if not impossible to get at the historical and intrinsic knowledge in an organization.  I really think that we, as IDs need to be thinking more about embedding learning into the workflow process rather than taking people out of the workflow in order to “learn” – most of what we design and develop is totally irrelevant or forgotten by the time the “learner” goes back to the actual work. What a waste!

An intriguing premise that Reuben raised is that the web is shaping the future of learning. In my own research, I have been asking participants to respond to how they make decisions about who to follow or what content is “good”.  I think a lot about the decisions that we all make about whether the information that we read is “true” or “good” content and whether the people who are out there blogging are speaking “truth”

It seems to me that we are all dependent on helping each other to determine who or what to accept as true.  In CoP, connectivism, and network theory, the viability of a contributor or content is based on the connections to it.  But, what worries me is that, since we are depending on each other to help us make this determination, what stops 

Getting Started

Posted June 20, 2012 by Christin Manning
Categories: Uncategorized

Hello! Welcome to my blog! I am using this blog as a central location for my online portfolio. I will be adding additonal examples to this site.

Because of my interest in workplace learning. I may also use this as a site to comtemplate using elearning for formal learning. But, I am also doing some research in how to support a non-formal learning environment in business. So, I will probably post those musings as well.