Follow-up on learning objectives (#edumooc)

I like to say a big thank-you to everyone who has joined in on this discussion, both on my blog and in the google discussion group. It is this type of discussion that I find very valuable in my learning. I also love that we can look at MOOCs and discuss the concept as well as the content.

On a side note (I'll post about this later) – this is the first time I've used my blog effectively as a learning tool. An extra thank-you to those who comments, as that definitely provides me with encouragement to continue 🙂

From the various comments, I'm glad to hear that I'm not alone in my search for learning objectives, but there are several others of you who don't think they are necessary for the MOOC or that they are don't align with the philosophy of the MOOC. That too is interesting to here.

I find the idea that the learners should determine their own learning objectives to be an interesting one. My emphasis was more that the learners should "choose" their learning objectives, rather than having to create them. Are we not letting the designers of the MOOC off the hook too easily by not requesting that they include some form of learning objective or structure to the content they are providing? I agree with Clark's comment that the week 1 page is "just a bunch of links". That is aligns with exactly what I saw. I'm not sure I agree with Apostolos' "you don't necessarily know what you don't know", but I do agree that the subject matter experts do have a better sense of structure, and would be in a better position to provide a level of guidance, that the novice would not. Now, is that the point of connectivism? Get a whole bunch of people together, given them a title, and tell them to make their own learning out of it? If we were not all educators, would this format work at all? It's just a good think that we all like to talk and share our thoughts ;).

On the learning objective perspective, I heard some defenders of SMART – but personally I don't buy it. SMART makes sense when you are looking at lesson objectives but starts to fall apart when you look at bigger things like courses, and especially falls apart when you don't want to pre-determine learning. I think choice needs to be an important aspect of how the learning objectives are phrased.

I like Ann's add of Evaluate and Discriminate to my list of Open, Focussed, and Accessible. Although, I wonder if discriminate and focussed are just two variants of the same thing? And Clark, thanks for the link to the ABCD method, this is the first time I've heard of that one.

The idea of personal learning plans was brought up, and I think that may be the concept I need to latch onto. As part of creating personal learning plans, I encourage you to continue to share your objectives throughout the course – perhaps we can start a new thread each week with the objectives for that week. It will be interesting to see how the objectives change as the weeks progress.

In addition to the objectives that I originally suggested, I'm adding a few that have appeared in the comments:

  • To locate channels of communication (thanks Shannon). I've be lurking in the various areas trying to figure out where the conversations are occurring. I'm finding the google group surprisingly quiet given the large number of people signed up for this course. This leads me to believe that conversations are happening elsewhere.
  • To evaluate where I am on the continuum of online learning (thanks James). Since my focus is more on mobile learning, I'm trying to figure out how mLearning and eLearning relate and if they will continue to relate in the future.
  • Making connections. I wonder, does a connection need to be more than just a single exchange of emails to be meaningful? Does it need to be something that lasts beyond the MOOC? Are the short bursts of interactivity not just as valuable?
  • Discover new resources. This is going to be a topic for another blog post. I've see so many new tools pop up on the various discussions and pages, that I'm curious to see how they work and how well they support this type of massive course.

I appreciate Benjamin's idea about evaluating his learning after the course. I think the post-course reflection/evaluation is a whole other topic – and a blog post for the end of the course :).

Finally, I thought I'd share a link to Bethany's Running Amok in MOOC post. In it she asks "What design strategies could we implement that would make the MOOC a more favorable learning environment for everyone?"  Good question!


  1. Thanks – this is a great summary of the different perspectives re. Learning Objectives. Like you, I'm struggling to create a plan or a framework for my MOOC experience. I am not an educator – I'm coming at this from the ICT angle. At this stage I'm not sure whether to try to deepen my knowledge of tech for education (relatively familiar territory) or explore questions relating to education via tech (a huge continent of unknowns…. not even sure how to set a course!) 

    • Hi Sarah,
      I’ve found this particular MOOC a bit of a challenge to just find the “communities” or discussions that I can connect to. I’m thinking of doing a follow-up post at some point early need week identifying the different communities that have emerged – and maybe titling it something like – if you haven’t found a community yet, look here. This has definitely been a more distributed MOOC that the last one I attended.

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