Online Learning Crash and Burn

9 May

Many folks tout the huge opportunities in online education… most visible of course is??MIT’s open courseware. The thing is… its a rare person indeed who can take such and really run with it.??

Another interesting concept is the personalmba… pretty much a set of books to read, which again likely ends up being mostly a passive activity. Sure one can learn of six-sigma, and other book of the month activities, but as far as wisdom in such matters go, until one goes live and does something with the information at hand, learning stops at the rote level, much less the ability to really use, or cross correlate it and apply it to another activity. On the other hand, so much of the world just relies on rote knowledge, much less understanding, or correlation, passive activity and rote knowledge may be for many, all that is needed.

As of late, Seth Godin pointed to the following book…??DIY U: Edupunks, Edupreneurs, and the Coming Transformation of Higher Education.??Most certainly there is the potential.. but the devil is in the details, and part of those details, at least for most folks is going to be some type of structuring, guidance, and assessment. Its not that diy education is impossible…but that its incredibly difficult for most folks.

If we go back to MIT’s open courseware, being they parallel the 3d courses, a curricula is in place, the lectures are there, even some assessments are there, but a formal structure of do this or else, a peer group, and a professor to go bug for assistance are not… it can be a very passive experience, and except for the most motivated and capable individuals, few will get much long term value. If we then look outside of MIT… we find many online opportunities are even less structured, in some cases, its as if the student has to design the curricula themselves!

The thing is… the infrastructure for community exists everywhere, even posterous could be used to follow a course, build some formality in, develop a peer group, and even build a curricula if need be. The next step would include capturing ten or twenty fellow students to chip in and get a carrot for an individual well versed in the topic at hand. Such an individual would assist with assessment and tutoring/q-a. It would seem a cool fit for an enterprising grad student, or in some cases, a retired professor… a win win all around, but it doesnt happen.

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One Response to “Online Learning Crash and Burn”

  1. Geoffrey Knauth May 11, 2010 at 11:02 am #

    I’m really, really glad for MIT OpenCourseware. I lived for 20 years in Boston, which was awesome. Now I live in the boonies, and things like MIT OCW help a lot. (Even happier that a friend was behind OCW.)

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