December 14 2012

MOOCs - Changing the Face of E-Learning

These days, massive open online courses (MOOCs) are often heralded as the next revolution in education. A long-awaited revolution, and one expected by many for the past two decades. But do these MOOCs really hold the solution to what we need?

E-learning: the future of universities?

It remains uncertain just how it will influence the future of education, but we can already foresee its impact on the future of e-learning. The most successful platforms offer students much more interactivity and control over what they learn. This is undoubtedly a common effect of the digitisation of our society: people want to be able to control what they watch, what they listen and – eventually - what they learn.

Better yet, massive open online courses offer the opportunity of tailored, personalised education. What time of the day do you best learn maths? What type of exercises help you best memorise key information in history or biology? All the data is gathered by a software that gradually creates a refined and customized teaching method; that way your experience of learning is made more efficient and effortless.

Formal education has remained one of the few sectors that haven’t been profoundly transformed by digital technologies. It’s hard not to see that the way we live, work, communicate and learn (outside of schools) has changed. From news to culture, research and data analysis, information seeking and the workplace itself… each aspect of our lives has been altered and each sector has undergone a crisis of some kind. Maybe it is time for education to jump on the bandwagon.

Needless to say, there some things you just can’t learn online. Things that involve a certain degree of manual work or human relations for example. But let’s look reality in the eye: if education is a means to social mobility through the prospect of better jobs… then you must consider the fact that an ever-growing number of jobs require merely a computer (and a few fingers) to be performed. Some recent initiatives such as edX aim in fact at blending online courses with classroom learning to take the best from both experiences. Certainly, doing a whole bachelor’s degree from home can get a bit lonely. And it isn’t quite the best way to develop social skills, let alone to preserve your mental stability.

While many worry about the crisis universities will face as free online education becomes more widespread, they don’t realise that the costs of running this type of website and software are such that MOOCs will eventually have to charge their students. Most universities understand this and that’s why they agree to join in the “revolution”, although it’s also a way not to be left behind with technological change and its impact on our lives. “Embrace MOOCs or die ignoring them”, some might claim reluctantly.

For now it works quite symbiotically: MOOCs provide much needed innovations in education, while universities provide renowned professors and the promise of real diplomas for online students in a near future.

MOOCs vs traditional education

How MOOCs can change the future of classrooms and e-learning:

- Information exchange with the professor or university about the quality of the educational material or teaching;
- Better information retention & understanding;
- More collaborative work between students in the form of projects - better suited to the 21st century workplace;
- A more flexible and personalised learning experience

One other obvious advantage of MOOCs: it makes education more democratic. The consequence of this is that it gives everybody a shot at education. As long as you have an internet connection and basic education that is. Provided this, it gives potentially anyone a shot at higher education not to mention that it’s also an unprecedented opportunity to discover new geniuses across the world.

When it comes to building efficient massive open online courses or innovative e-learning solutions and websites, this is still very much a work in progress and you won’t find that many experts who can claim experience in this domain. So you don’t need to worry, it’s far from being too late to jump on that bandwagon. MOOCs might be getting a lot of hype but all the signs show that the revolution of e-learning is only in its first steps.

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    Posted by MOOCs – Changing the Face of E-Learning - Open Creative Communications | MOOC News Collection | Scoop.it, 01/07/2013 9:51am (1 year ago)

  • Hi NickyIt's truly been a fantastic coruse and you have summarised it so well in this post. I've really got a lot out of it and it's definitely made me feel much more curious about exploring the different avenues available. Slowly but surely, I'll be reviewing the coruse contents over the next few weeks. I'll be taking more notes in order to help me to consolidate the huge amount of information and resources shared by everyone this past week. As Lesley says, I'm glad it's only a week, but the after effects are going to be long lasting.The coruse has been an eye-opener for me! I feel it has been a perfect introduction to show us what options are currently available to teachers and what also lies ahead in terms of various handheld devices and applications. I have learned a lot via the forums. I found the sharing of practical ideas and discussions to be very useful. A very big thank you to you, Nicky, for organising everything so efficiently. This coruse has come at a very timely moment. It has served as a bit of a wake-up call for me, as it's made me fully aware that mLearning is not just a passing phase. It's definitely here to stay. I'm a bit more ready for it than I was 7 days ago, and that is a great feeling! It's been lovely to meet so many teachers from around the globe, all sharing the same objectives. That's been fun!

    Posted by Blerim, 01/07/2013 9:51am (1 year ago)

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    Posted by MOOCs: Changing the Face of E-Learning ? | Utbildning på nätet | Scoop.it, 01/07/2013 9:51am (1 year ago)

  • [...] These days, massive open online courses (MOOCs) are often heralded as the next revolution in education. A long-awaited revolution, and one expected by many for the past two decades. But do these MOOCs really hold the solution to what we need? ...http://www.scoop.it/t/easy-mooc  [...]

    Posted by MOOCs: Changing the Face of E-Learning ? | MOOC News Collection | Scoop.it, 01/07/2013 9:51am (1 year ago)

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  • [...] These days, massive open online courses (MOOCs) are often heralded as the next revolution in education. A long-awaited revolution, and one expected by many for the past two decades. But do these MOOCs really hold the solution to what we need?  [...]

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