Moodle in the World of MOOCs: What Might the Future Look Like?
Moodle in the World ofMOOCs: What Might the FutureLook Like?Dr. Iain DohertyAssociate ProfessorDirector eLearning Pedagogical Support UnitCentre for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning24th May 2013The University of Hong Kong
Overview• Massive Open Online Courses• Standard Learning Theories• Standard Technologies• Connectivism• Moodle in a Massively Open World
Massive Open Online Courses• Massive Open Online Courses arearguably the most talked about – andpotentially most disruptive –phenomenon in the current educationallandscape.• They provide an impetus for institutions to reflect upon their teachingand learning and to reflect upon their eLearning practices.• Compared with the past many institutions may well be forced into doingthis in order to survive e.g. look at the Open University in the U.K.(Weller and Anderson, 2013).
Massive Open Online Courses• Thinking about MOOCs, higher education institutionscan reflect on what the LMS – any LMS but let’s sayMoodle – has meant for their teaching and learning.• This process will be much more productive if ourinstitutions understand the different sorts of MOOCs.• Contrary to current designations I am going to suggestthat there are three different types of MOOCs –cMOOCs, sMOOCs and xMOOCs.
cMOOCs• cMOOCs are grounded in the Connectivist learning theory firstproposed by George Siemens.• Learning is a networked process and course content is generated byteachers, students and other “nodes” in the network.• cMOOCs employ multiple technologies – 12 in the first MOOCoffered by Siemens (Fini, 2009) – and theLMS is one in a range of technologies.
sMOOCs• Standard MOOCs or sMOOCs are grounded intraditional pedagogies – predominantlyBehaviorist with a smattering of Cognitivism andConstructivism.• The MOOC platform operates as a massive LMSand learning is process of working throughtransmitted material, engaging in multiple choicequizzes and being assessed by peers.• Use of additional technologies is limited.
xMOOCs• Excellent, exploratory, expansive” (Rodrick & Sun, 2012) MOOCsor xMOOCs aspire to innovating in pedagogical practices / use oftechnologies for teaching and learning.• MOOC platform still seems to operate as a large scale LMS but thetrajectory for these MOOC is one of innovation.• Use of technologies still seems to be somewhat limited but there aresigns that this will change.
The MOOC As Vehicle• It is time to take a stand with respect to teaching and technologies.• The most innovative MOOCs are in fact the cMOOCs run by Siemensand others.• We can learn a lot from these MOOCs in terms of teaching approachand aligned use of technologies.• This will require a massive eLearningre-think on the part of most institutions.for Reflection
Learning Theories• Education has operated for decades in terms of threelearning theories:– Behaviorism (drill and practice)– Cognitivism (mental structures)– Constructivism (making meaning)• Technologies have been integrated into teaching onthe basis of these three learning theories (Mergel1998).• We need a change because the world has changed!
Standard LMS Usage is Poor• The LMS is predominantly used for text transmission (Coates et al,2005, Mott, 2010).• Limited use of other functions such as discussion forums as a nodto Cognitivism and Constructivism.
The Nature of“Understanding knowledge in a particular era is important inensuring that we have aligned our spaces and structures with thenature of knowledge” (Siemens, 2006).Are we teaching in a way that aligns with the nature ofknowledge acquisition in contemporary society?Knowledge as Driver
As a learner (Oblinger, 2005) the fifteen year old is:– Always connected to something or someone;– Accessing multiple sources of information;– Learning socially with her friends;– Adept with multiple technologies;– Highly creative and inventive;– Fascinated by certain things; and– Intermittently engaged with learning.The Nature ofStudents as Driver
“The rapid development of information . . . requires a model thatsees learning less as a product (filling a learner with knowledge)and more of a process of continually staying current andconnected (learning as a process of exploration, dialogue, andinteraction)” (Siemens, 2006).• Information is increasing exponentially so for Siemensknowing how / where is more important than being able tostore knowledge in our heads.Connectivism asPedagogical Approach
“Connecting with people and content is a constant, ongoing,daily activity . . . Learning is a continual, network-formingprocess . . . As we encounter new resources (knowledge,people, and technology nodes), we may choose to activelyconnect and create our personal learning network”(Siemens, 2006).• The network forming process in a Connectivist MOOCoccurs in terms of multiple technologies -12 in the firstMOOC offered by Siemens.Connectivism asTechnology Use
Remember the Fifteen Year Old Girl• We can look at our students and saythat they are “learning” when theyconnect to multiple sources ofinformation in order to completelearning activities.• But what place for Moodle in aConnectivist MOOC?
ConnectivismWe want to see,“ . . . A shift away from the modelin which students consumeinformation through independentchannels such as the library, atext book or an LMS, movinginstead to a model wherestudents draw connections froma growing matrix of resourcesthat they select and organize”(Mott, 2010)
Siemens says no to the LMS:“ . . . we are repeating the ‘instructor/school controls’ hierarchyonline. Linear, one-way, managed knowledge flow doesnt workwell in a information overload society. Networks do work . . .”(Siemens, 2004).• We can avoid this with relative ease and deliver rich, engagingand rewarding learning experiences.LMS: The Wrong Placeto Start Learning?
• If there is an issue then it is this; theLMS needs to be employed in theservice of student learning.• This means thinking pedagogically inthe first instance and then determiningwhether the LMS has the features andaffordances to meet pedagogical needs.LMS: Not ReallyThe Wrong Place to Start
Some Guiding Thoughts• It is not clear that Connectivism is a learning theory and there is noempirical evidence for its efficacy.• But Connectivism is saying something important about the 21stCentury epistemological framework.• It is also saying somethingimportant about the ubiquitousnature of technologies / livingin a networked world.• Can we navigate to abalanced picture ofteaching / technology use?
Heading towards a Balanced Picture“What if course portals, typically little more thangateways to course activities and materials, becameinstead course catalysts: open, dynamic representationsof “engagement streams” that demonstrate and encouragedeep learning?” (Campbell, 2009).
Heading towards a Balanced Picture• Sage on the Stage or teacher as source of knowledge (King, 1993)– Aligns with Behaviorism and Cognitivism• Guide on the Side or teacher as facilitator (King, 1993)– Aligns with Constructivism and its variants• Meddler in the Middle described as a “usefully ignorant co-worker”(McWilliam 2008)– Aligns with the central tenants of Connectivism
Heading towards a Balanced Picture• Project based learning• Experiential learning• Case based learning• Problem based learning• Guided discovery learning• Student led teaching• Student presentations• Interactive teaching sessions
Heading towards a Balanced Picture• From a technological perspective the LMS is one node in thenetwork (Masters & Qaboos, 2011) with learners’ personalspaces and technologies – 12 different technologies onSiemens’ and Downs first MOOC (Fini, 2009) – definingadditional nodes in the network (Rodriguez, 2012).• It is an important node as research into Siemens first MOOCshows (Mackness et al., 2010). Moodle was favored by asignificant number of participants.• Because if offered structure / was manageable?
Heading towards a Balanced PictureSiemens says (2004) that an LMS needs to offer:– A place for learner expression (blog/portfolio);– A place for content interaction;– A place to connect with other learners;– A place to connect the thoughts of other learners in a personal,meaningful way - i.e. using RSS and then brought back intothe "learner expression tool“;– A place to dialogue with the instructor (email, VoIP, etc.)
Heading towards a Balanced Picture– A place to dialogue with gurus (apprentice) - the heartof online communities is the mess of varying skills andexpertise. Gurus are people currently in industry orestablished practitioners of the organizing theme of thecommunity.– A place for learning artifacts of those whove gonebefore - i.e. content management capabilities accessibleand managed by the learner. Tools like Furl, del.icio.usare examples of personal knowledge management(PKM) tools.
Heading towards a Balanced Picture• Moodle can provide a structured environment for innovativeteaching following the Meddler in the Middle model using avariety of teaching approaches.• In addition students need to be given the option of using avariety of other tools to organize a personal learningenvironment.• This brings about the best of both worlds and achieves abalance between structure for “knowing what” andConnectivism for generating knowledge.
Closing Comments• We do need to re-think the learning theories that we are using;• We do need to re-think the technologies that we are using inteaching;• Despite the LMS nay sayers, Moodle has clear utility as onetechnology in a Connectivist environment.• The issue lies with teaching and learning commitment andMOOCs will likely make institutes focus on their teaching /technology use.
References• Campbell, G. (2009). A Personal Cyber Infrastructure.Educause Review, 44(5), 58–59. Retrieved fromhttp://www.educause.edu/ero/article/personal-cyberinfrastructure• Fini, A. (2009). The Technological Dimension of aMassive Open Online Course: The Case of the CCK08Course Tools. International Review of Research in Openand Distance Learning, 10(5). Retrieved fromhttp://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/643/1410
References• King, A. (1993). From Sage on the Stage to Guide onthe Side. College Teaching, 41(1), 30–35. Retrievedfrom http://www.jstor.org/stable/27558571• Mackness, J., Fai, S., Mak, J., & Williams, R. (2010).The Ideals and Reality of Participating in a MOOC. InProceedings of the 7th International Conference onNetworked Learning 2010 (pp. 266–274). Retrievedfromhttp://www.lancs.ac.uk/fss/organisations/netlc/past/nlc2010/abstracts/PDFs/Mackness.pdf
References• Masters, K., & Qaboos, S. (2011). A Brief Guide ToUnderstanding MOOCs. The Internet Journal of MedicalEducation, 1(2), 2–6. http://dx.doi.org/10.5580/1f21• McWilliam, E. (2008). Unlearning How To Teach.Innovations in Education and Teaching International,45(3), 263–269.http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14703290802176147
References• Mergel, B. (1998). Instructional Design and LearningTheory. Retrieved fromhttp://www.usask.ca/education/coursework/802papers/mergel/brenda.htm• Mott, J. (2010). Envisioning the Post-LMS Era : TheOpen Learning Network. Educause Quarterly, 33(1), 1–8.Retrieved fromhttp://www.educause.edu/ero/article/envisioning-post-lms-era-open-learning-network
References• Oblinger, D. G., & Oblinger, J. L. (2005). Educating theNet Generation. (D. G. Oblinger & J. L. Oblinger,Eds.)Educating the Net Generation (p. 264). Boulder,CO: Educause. Retrieved fromhttp://www.educause.edu/educatingthenetgen/5989• Rodrick, D., & Sun, K. (2012). EdX: Harvard’s NewDomain. The Harvard Crimson. Retrieved May 1, 2013,from http://www.thecrimson.com/article/2012/10/4/edx-scrutiny-online-learning/?page=single
References• Rodriguez, C. O. (2012). MOOCs and the AI-Stanfordlike Courses: Two Successful and Distinct CourseFormats for Massive Open Online Courses. EuropeanJournal of Open, Distance and E-Learning back,05.07.2012, 1–13. Retrieved fromhttp://www.eurodl.org/?p=current&article&article=516
References• Siemens, George. (2005). Connectivism: A LearningTheory for the Digital Age. Retrieved fromhttp://www.elearnspace.org/Articles/connectivism.htm• Siemens, G. (2006). Knowing Knowledge. Retrieved fromhttp://www.elearnspace.org/KnowingKnowledge_LowRes.pdf
References• Siemens, S. (2004). Learning Management Systems :The Wrong Place to Start Learning. elearningspace.Retrieved September 17, 2012, fromhttp://www.elearnspace.org/Articles/lms.htm• Weller, M., & Anderson, T. (2013). Digital Resilience inHigher Education. European Journal of Open, Distanceand E-Learning, 16(1), 53–66. Retrieved fromhttp://www.eurodl.org/?article=559