Creative learning on mass, or the MIT MOOC

Just this morning, I came across MIT Media Lab’s announcement for its Learning Creative Learning online course. You can read about it or skim the outline to make your own judgment; I’m enjoying the laid-back description, which tracks with my previous massive open online course experience:

  • “This is a big experiment. Things will break. We don’t have all the answer.”
  • “We hope that participants will jump in as collaborators rather than passive recipients.”
  • “Check out our shiny new platform. Actually, don’t, because we didn’t build a shiny new platform.”

I’ve registered, I’ve joined the LCL community on Google+, and I’ve set up a place in Evernote to help me organize what I do in LCL. This (I think) is a sign I’ve learned from past experience. A while back, I joined PLENK, a MOOC on public learning environments, networks, and knowledge. I stayed with it for a while, but eventually stopped participating. There were things about the MOOC format that annoyed me, but the biggest factor in my leaving was that I hadn’t made enough connections with people whose interests overlapped sufficiently with mine.

Many of the participants were students, academics, or people closely tied to formal education (schools or colleges). That’s not the world I work in, or one I often turn to. I don’t blame the MOOC for that, any more than I blame sports bars for always having athletic events on TV.

PLENK is an example of a connectivist MOOC. George Siemens seemed to use cMOOC and xMOOC as informal and possibly tongue-in-cheek shorthand for the difference between an experience like PLENK and the more, shall we say, institutional MOOC like those from edX or Coursera. More relevant to learning is this comment he makes:

Our MOOC model emphasizes creation, creativity, autonomy, and social networked learning. The Coursera model emphasizes a more traditional learning approach through video presentations and short quizzes and testing. Put another way,cMOOCs focus on knowledge creation and generation whereas xMOOCs focus on knowledge duplication.

As a veteran of many, many corporate training and learning efforts, I’m trying not to see the rise of the University MOOC, and especially the for-profit-corporate MOOC, as “Lecture Hall Meets Facebook.”

As a refresher for myself, and a first action for LCL, I posted in Google+ a link to this video by Dave Cormier, who’s partnered with Siemens and others, with advice on how to succeed in a MOOC.

  1. ORIENT: Find out where stuff is. Then remember where it is.
  2. DECLARE: Set up a place to record and share your thoughts.
  3. NETWORK: Follow others;  interact with them.
  4. CLUSTER: Once you’ve gotten your feet wet, get together with people who share your interests.
  5. FOCUS: “Halfway through,” Cormier says, “your mind starts to wander.” So have a way to apply what you’ve been learning.

We’ll see how well I apply myself.

Posted in LCL

5 thoughts on “Creative learning on mass, or the MIT MOOC

  1. Nice post! You’ve got me thinking about approaching my organization for this course a bit differently. I’ll respond to your discussion topic on the Google+ page soon.

  2. Elijah, I’m glad you found something useful.

    My prior experience makes me want to keep in mind Deborah Tannen’s statement that everyone is born into a different family. She was talking about intra-family relationships, and when (for example) the second child arrives, the family is different for everyone involved.

    So I think (or realize) that everyone joins a different MOOC. I have nothing against academics or educators–I follow several people who are one or the other. I’m just looking for things that connect to my day-to-day experience, which has a lot more to do with people learning at work, and ways to increase the likelihood of that happening.

  3. Rebecca, thanks for your kind words.

    Blogging has been helpful for me — both in terms of thinking out loud about what interests me, and in terms of connecting with other people. I started to say go for it. is waiting for you, but I see you’ve already got

Comments are closed.