Groundhog Day

Hoy va en inglés. Esta es una versión de un comentario que hice en el blog de Michael Feldstein, relacionado con los MOOC. Sirva de ejemplo de interacción con una parte de mi APA, y su extensión.

Reading Michael Feldstein, my impression, after experiencing a MOOC debate at EDUCA Berlin, and following #mri13, is that the narratives issue raised by Bon Stewart and discussed also by Jim Groom, is not about MOOCs at all. It is about how learning and knowledge are understood. The “co-option” in the MOOC context is perhaps simply a question of people applying their understanding of learning to an idea. If learning is basically “transmission” of generally accepted general knowledge, then if you take the Net and a set of technologies, at some point someone will invent a prototype xMOOC. (Arguably they did that a long time ago and this is just edtech Groundhog Day, but that is maybe another conversation).

Bon Stewart made a nice clear distinction in May on the University of Venus blog between credentialling (where the money is), and learning (which appears to me to be where the cMOOC is). Audrey Watters has been writing about the need to know our history.  As Bon Stewart pointed out there is a need to build a shared narrative. Stephen Downes says narratives can’t “change the world”, but I am not sure. You may not change the world, but you can share your narrative with your neighbour. Narratives do shift from the roots, and I have the sense of a common narrative coalescing slowly in recent years, around openness, and around connectivism. But when I discuss those issues outside the echo chamber of the convinced, the differing opinions often appear to be informed by very different understandings of what learning is, and of how knowledge is. Bruner’s “folk pedagogies” come to mind. So building that shared narrative should perhaps focus first and foremost on learning and knowledge.

Perhaps what is needed is a shared understanding of what a “literacy” of learning might involve. It would need to understand how learning, identity and participation interrelate. And it would need to be critical, and recognise that fact that discourses around learning are necessarily political.

It seems churlish to propose going back to square one, but it also seems necessary. Maybe this is Groundhog Day after all!