This week I began another MOOC – this one is called Online Instruction for Open Educators and is presented by Wide World Ed (http://wideworlded.org/online-instruction-for-open-educators/) and it officially started today.
The first week talked about teaching philosophy in online education. The article we read presented useful principles to consider when designing/facilitating online courses (see http://www.cjlt.ca/index.php/cjlt/article/view/179/177), but I'd like to take these ideas in another direction.
In an open online course, especially one in which is free and not for credit, learners have complete control. They can pick and choose which activities they wish to participate in, and decide for themselves what they want to accomplish in the course. The challenge I have with this is the assumption that the learner knows best about what they need. In an interesting article by Kirschner and van Merrienboer, they say "learners often choose what they prefer, but what they prefer is not always what is best for them" (p.9). So, that makes me wonder, how do we motivate learners in an open educational setting to do what is best for them, especially when that "what is best" is not necessarily what the learner is likely to prefer?
Kirschner, P. A., & van Merriënboer, J. J. G. (2013). Do Learners Really Know Best? Urban Legends in Education. Educational Psychologist, 48(3), 169-183. doi:10.1080/00461520.2013.804395