An innovative dual-layer MOOC

For me learning is about sense-making; finding meaning from a series of experiences. It is usually a social process that involves connecting with others, building dialogues and narratives, sharing ideas and organising collective thinking. It is about finding a pathway through complexity towards a shared and evolved understanding. It’s not linear, nor is it an easy process and it doesn’t have a beginning or an end.

Learning is a shifting pathway that can require resilience and adaptability to navigate.

Conventional instructional design in learning can be (although by no means always) frustratingly linear and unrepresentative of the nature of reality. We learn iteratively, socially and, in a knowledge rich world, often partially. Much of our educational system and organisational learning fail to reflect this.

I am therefore tremendously excited by a new development pushing the frontiers of learning delivery in the Data, Analytics and Learning MOOC developed by the University of Texas Arlington and delivered via EdX. This course offers a duality of instructional design by providing a conventional structured pathway through the material and/or a learner directed experience. The social competency based software (ProSolo) that enables the latter also provides opportunity for learners to identify and manage their learning goals and create their own recognition pathways.

It’s challenging, messy and complex. It changes rapidly and requires commitment to social dialogue, group-work and forging connections across boundaries. But most of all it’s exhilarating to be a part of a learning experience that enables personal sense-making. I can decide what content is important to me and ignore the pieces that don’t matter. I can engage and interact in multiple digital learning spaces that are widely dispersed. I’m in the driving seat. It’s a valuable experience and a learning design triumph.

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