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Exploring the experience of learning on a MOOC
£4,984, Centre for Distance Education, University of London Description In September 2014, the Institute of Education (IOE) will run its first MOOC (What future for education?) in collaboration with UoLIP and Coursera. The MOOC has been designed as a taster course for the MA in Education, and one of its objectives is to use the same pedagogical approach to that programme. However, this pedagogical approach is grounded in a conceptualisation of on-line learning which requires students to be active learners, engaging in dialogic interaction with more-experienced learners (i.e., teachers). The “mass” nature of a MOOC presents challenges for this approach, as previous studies indicate that learners may “lurk” on the sidelines and it is difficult to achieve genuine informed dialogue. To counter these concerns, the programme team are planning to take a learning design approach to explore the pedagogical potential of MOOCs and other large scale online learning platforms. Learning Design Research (LDR) aims to make both the learning design process explicit and to guide teachers’ use of new technologies in creating effective learning experiences for students (Conole & Wills, 2013). The design features that are included in the MOOC design includes “live” events (using Google Hangouts), dialogic video-sessions, and targeted evaluation questioning techniques. The aim of the project is to undertake a full evaluation of the effectiveness of these features from the learner’s perspective. The advantage of adopting a learning design approach is that we will be able to represent what we designed for the learners explicitly, and then direct the evaluations to their experience of those design features and whether it fulfilled our intentions, and why. The project intends to determine which of the approaches were the most successful at such a large scale, and which has the potential to contribute to the learning experience on other large-scale online courses. The results of the project will be widely disseminated through University of London International Programmes, the CDE network and through publications. The project goal is to develop a range of strategies and approaches for developing learner participation and engagement on massive open online courses, that maybe relevant to other large-scale online course delivery mechanisms. Each strategy will be evaluated from the perspective of the learner and how they contribute to the learner’s experience.
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