As I’ve learned today the Internet likes lists (probably unsurprising in our world of decreasing attention spans). So here comes my list of top three conclusions and impressions of the 5 week long E-learning and Digital Cultures MOOC.
1. It’s not the content but the experience
In my little study of the blogs in this news feed I noticed that, when talking about what they have learned from this course, numerous people stressed the experiences they have made with managing the different networks and platforms and learning to work with different tools for making videos, presentations and the like. I labelled this “learning by doing” and it was just as important, if not more important, than learning from the course videos and articles. Perhaps it has been so because learning by doing entails communication, collaboration and the sharing of ideas while sitting down to read an article is a more solitary process, even if you share your reviews later on?
2. Information overload increases the demand for guidance and sharing experiences
When skimming through the EDC MOOC news, when do you stop to fully read a blog post? Personally, I’ve been most interested in the posts that review the course itself as opposed to the posts that review the course contents, almost completely ignoring any posts that include just video reviews. Am I alone in this? Judging from my blog stats, not at all. While neither of my reviews of the course content have had more than 25 hits, my infographic of the content analysis study received over 60 hits and the how to survive a MOOC post recently hit over 300 without even landing on the course blogroll. Do I need to say more?
3. Small groups are the key for survival
I know it sounds a bit extreme to say “survival” but let me explain. I really do believe that one of the reasons of the high drop-out rates of MOOCs is the lack of involvement and feeling lost in the crowd of thousands of voices (another is related to the target public and time constraints but let us leave that for another time). I remember my first experience in an internet forum: taking up the courage to write that very first post, which is pretty brief and not that daring since you’re not that courageous and confident yet, then anxiously waiting for people to pick up on it and comment and… nothing happens. People pass it over, it has not made an impact. Does it sound familiar? Because of this I firmly believe that grouping-up with like-minded coursemates, sharing the difficulties and the great ideas, encouraging and motivating one another is the best way to get through a MOOC. Its puts a friendly face on the information landslide.
Two more days to go and this massive online learning experience will be over. My first but not my last as I’m already enrolled in another experiment: Learning Creative Learning by the MIT Media Lab. Interestingly neither of these two MOOCs are examples of the supposedly “typical” talking head and automated quizzes sort. Not sure I’ll ever try out those.
Image credits: Eleni Zazani, peteoshea (Flickr Creative Commons)