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MOOC research focus on Seamless Learning or on Self-Directed Learning?


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Calling for ideas and thoughts on researching MOOC more from a self-directed learning angle, or more from a seamless learning angle. With a link to a reference rich probation report on the subject of self-directed learning in mobile MOOC.

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MOOC research focus on Seamless Learning or on Self-Directed Learning?

  1. 1. What would you do? Is learning inside MOOC affected more by seamless learning challenges (tech & human) or by self-directed learning capacities (human & tech)? Inge Ignatia de Waard You Heard It Here First seminar
  2. 2. The person, the research Professional and project experience in mobile learning, specifically developing regions and health (Institute of Tropical Medicine, Belgium) Research on mLearning and MOOC since 2011 (Athabasca University, Canada) PhD track: in second year, standing before a fork in the road for the main study for which I require your expertise and ideas.
  3. 3. Why I need your expertise & insight • Can one investigate SDL in a non-seamless environment (which means learners must cope with more then basic digital skills, they must be IT-software-test-savvy) • Can one research seamless learning in a online learning environment which demands SDL? What is most relevant, meaningful research?
  4. 4. Elements of Self-directed Learning SDL Unclear for MOOC, but elements from mLearning, online learning and some MOOC literature: • Starting target population: adult learners (Knowles, 1975; Merriam, 2001) • Online learning research related (e.g. Garrison, 1997 & 2003) • Context(s) influence SDL (Song & Hill, 2007) • Design influences SDL (Loyens, Magda, Rikers, 2008) • MOOC dropouts might be related to SDL (Kop & Fournier, 2011) • Seen in relation to Lifelong learning (Arrigo et al., 2012)
  5. 5. Elements of seamless learning Coming from Mobile Seamless Learning (MSL) framework from Wong and Looi (2011,), updated by Milrad et al. (2013), 10 characteristics: • (MSL 1): encompassing formal and informal learning • (MSL 2): encompassing personal and social learning • (MSL 3): across time • (MSL 4): across locations • (MSL 5): ubiquitous access to learning resources • (MSL 6): encompassing physical and digital worlds • (MSL 7): combined use of multiple device types (tech) • (MSL 8): seamless switching between multiple learning tasks • (MSL 9): knowledge synthesis (prior, new knowledge, multidisciplinary learning) • (MSL 10): encompassing multiple pedagogical or learning activity models (facilitated by teachers)
  6. 6. Pilot study: what - FutureLearn 2 closed beta courses in FutureLearn rolled out from 27 August 2013 and lasted for 2 weeks. These closed beta courses consisted of two courses (The secret Power of Brands and New Ecology), each of them providing two weeks of content and interactions to the participants.
  7. 7. FutureLearn in development Roll out courses • Running alpha trial courses from 29 July 2013, quickly adapting for optimal user experience • Running beta closed courses from 27 August 2013, two weeks • Rolling out first public beta courses from 15 September 2013, full courses 8 – 10 week courses Design • Based on mobile learning principles: simple design, content in bitesize chunks. • Current: xMOOC: expert content delivery, share and peerdiscussion. Pipeline • Increased collaborative learning: e.g. group learning, learner based content creation.
  8. 8. Pilot study: who The target population: learners interested in FutureLearn (website registration, answering social media & news article calls). • A purposeful sample: 59 FutureLearn course participants, selected from pre-course online survey based on: – A diverse mobile device background (ranging from people without mobiles to those having several) – A mix of prior social media expertise (varying from none to over 5 years of experience) – A diverse view on the importance of collaborative learning (varying from not at all important to very important) – A diverse experience in MOOC or online learning in general (ranging from no experience to multiple experiences)
  9. 9. Why a phenomenological approach? Phenomenological research is a strategy of inquiry in which the researcher identifies the essence of human experiences about a phenomenon as described by participants. The procedure involves studying a small number of subjects through extensive and prolonged engagement do develop patterns and relationships of meaning (Moustakas, 1994).
  10. 10. Current research focus What are the learning experiences of adult participants engaging in individual and collaborative selfdirected learning using multiple devices in a mobile MOOC? Image from the JEPS Bulletin Underlying strands: • Collaborative versus individual online learning • Mobile versus non-mobile devices for learning
  11. 11. Method: 3 stages for collecting data Expectations Experiences Reflections Three phases: • Phase 1 - expectations: using an online survey to all pilot study participants before start of the FuturLearn course. • Phase 2 – keeping learning diary logs: two learning diary logs: a weekly and a daily learning log, used during learning moments. • Phase 3 – reflections: one-on-one structured interviews - planned once the course has finished (ongoing at this point).
  12. 12. Phase 1: pre-course online survey • Tool used: SurveyMonkey (mobile) • Data collected: prior to course • Topics covered: – – – – MOOC experience mLearning experience Social media experience FutureLearn expectations
  13. 13. Phase 2: Learning Logs Builds upon Vavoula’s (2005) learning diary templates. The templates altered for research (adding MOOC elements: social media, collaborative learning) • Daily learning log: reflects actual learning for each day the participant engages in FutureLearn. • Weekly learning log: reflects type of FutureLearn interactions the participant engaged in
  14. 14. Phase 3: structured 1-on-1 interviews Looking at the participants reflections on the course, their devices used, their individual and collaborative learning experiences, their overall evaluation of the course and the strategies they adopted related to SDL.
  15. 15. Some Learning Log feedback Positive, but with challenges: General online learning challenges, out of reach of content provider: • Hardware challenges • Internet connection challenges Challenges due to content provider • Course tool problems Specific design or organizational challenges • Coping with stringed (one long list) of discussion threads as learner activity • Aware of beta course reality - environment in development • Less support from teachers/tutors or help desk Questions • Non-mobile user learning logs returned (reason?) though • Participant group of beta courses will differ from future learners
  16. 16. Thoughts • Learning platform affordances will keep on changing, so integral part of online learning, but how to embed this change into research? • Everyone looks at technology from their background, but how does this fit within SDL? • A seamless learning environment would be more nourishing for learning? (assumption) but will it? • SDL can be part of seamless learning, or not? • What am I missing myself in the research doubts or wishes I currently feel?
  17. 17. Main study: the fork in the way Dilemma for the main study: • Can one investigate SDL in a non-seamless environment (which means learners must cope with more then basic digital skills, they might need to be IT-software-test-savvy) • Can one research seamless learning in a online learning environment which demands SDL? • Where are my assumptions and might this provide new insights? • Or might a combination of the two result in an interesting result? What is most relevant, meaningful research?
  18. 18. Brainstorming seamless learning MOOC draft rethinking of Wong & Looi (2011) • • • • • • • • Encompassing Formal And Informal Learning (MSL1), Adding Lifelong Learning Encompassing Personal And Social Learning (MSL2), Adding Collaborative Learning Learning Across Time And Location (Merging MSL3 And MSL4) Ubiquitous Access To Learning Resources (MSL5), Adding The Cloud Based Learning Resources Encompassing Physical And Digital Worlds (MSL6), Adding Learning Across Contexts Combined Use of Multiple Devices (MSL7) Seamless Switching Between Multiple Learning Tasks (MSL8), Adding Sharing Learning Objects Knowledge Synthesis (MSL9) Adding Learner Centered Learning – Moving towards learner centered options • Encompassing Multiple Pedagogical Or Learning Activity Models (MSL10), Adding Self-Directed Learning – Self-directed learning skills • Adding Ethics and Durability To Seamless Learning – Privacy and ethics implications for seamless learning with a global audience – Importance of sustainable seamless learning for MOOC
  19. 19. Additions from OU colleagues provided during Q/A seminar • Mary Thorpe: what do you mean by SDL? It is inevitable that participants will be confronted with technological challenges in online learning, but how would you see seamless learning in relation to SDL? The self is at the center of the learning, not the environment (I replied that I thought the environment was part of the SDL – so something to think about). • Nicolas Van Labeke: Focusing on either the merger or the difference between all tech-driven learning options (MOOC, mLearning, online learning). Is there a difference? Does the fact that you – or FutureLearn people – use the best of all worlds (online learning, mLearning) result in the best learning options for MOOC? That might not be the case. • Adrian Kirkwood: do not aim for the “perfect learning environment”. Years back the OU was debating which VLE would be best suited for online learning (and I had similar experience when working at the Institute of Tropical Medicine, on the same subject). Moodle came out on top, because it features constructivist learning options. As Moodle was chosen, the course developments started and when screening all courses that were built in Moodle up until now, it becomes clear that most courses are simply not using a constructivist pedagogical approach. Theory is not necessarily practice. • Mike Sharples: what about merging both seamless learning and SDL and see what the meeting point of these two areas provides in terms of learning. Look at FutureLearn from both angles and see what that provides. • Isabel Tasker: read up on learning agency idea.
  20. 20. References in the presentation • • • • • • • • • • • • • Arrigo, M., Kukulska-Hulme, A., Arnedillo-Sánchez, I., & Kismihok, G. (2012). Meta-analyses from a collaborative project in mobile lifelong learning. British Educational Research Journal, (ahead-of-print), 1-26. Garrison, D. R. (1997). Self-directed learning: Toward a comprehensive model. Adult Education Quarterly, 48(1), 18-33. Garrison, D. R. (2003). Self-directed learning and distance education. In M. G. Moore & W. Anderson (Eds.), Handbook of Distance Education (pp. 161-168). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. Knowles, M. S. (1975). Self-directed learning. New York: association Press. Merriam, S. B. (2001). Andragogy and self‐directed learning: Pillars of adult learning theory. New Directions for adult and continuing education, 2001(89), 3-14. Kop, R., & Fournier, H. (2011). New dimensions to self-directed learning in an open networked learning environment. International journal of Self-Directed Learning, 7(2). Loyens, S. M., Magda, J., & Rikers, R. M. (2008). Self-directed learning in problem-based learning and its relationships with self-regulated learning.Educational Psychology Review, 20(4), 411-427. Milrad, M., Wong, L. H., Sharples, M., Hwang, G. J., Looi, C. K., & Ogata, H. (2013). Seamless Learning: An International Perspective on Next Generation Technology Enhanced Learning. In Z. L. Berge & L. Muilenburg (Eds). Handbook of Mobile Learning. Routledge. Moustakas, C. (1994). Phenomenological research methods. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Song, L., & Hill, J. R. (2007). A conceptual model for understanding self-directed learning in online environments. Journal of Interactive Online Learning,6(1), 27-42. Vavoula, G.; O'Malley, C. & Taylor, J. (2005). A study of mobile learning as part of everyday learning. In: Attewell, Jill and Savill-Smith, Carol (Eds). Mobile Learning Anytime Everywhere: a Book of Papers from MLEARN 2004. (pp. 211–212). London: Learning and Skills Development Agency. Wong, L. H., & Looi, C. K. (2011). What seams do we remove in mobile-assisted seamless learning? A critical review of the literature. Computers & Education, 57(4), 2364-2381. de Waard, Keskin, Koutropoulos (upcoming paper) Exploring future seamless learning research strands for MOOC.
  21. 21. Want to read more? Try this! Have a look at the full probation report which looks at: • Difference between SDL and SRL (selfregulated learning) • Similarities and challenges in online learning, MOOC and mobile learning • A pilot study and its phenomenological approach • And some research instruments (including learning logs) Read the full report at: ing_and_online_learning
  22. 22. Contact, networking, coffee E-mail: ingedewaard (at) Blog: Twitter: Publications: Presentations: linkedIn: 22