Courses for horses
Whether we are talking about constructivism, where Weller still sees quite an important role for the teacher, or connectivism, which it seems can function without a teacher, courses need to take into account the nature and level of the students they attract.
1. Some students would not cope with, or benefit from, a very substantial constructivist or connectivist element in their course (eg full-time A-level students) where the emphasis is on knowledge and understanding of specific aspects of the subject determined by the awarding body.
Of course, teachers have always been able to introduce their students to skills and insights not specifically required by the syllabus so even A-Level teachers could ween their students onto a kind of blended constructivism if they felt that it was in their students’ interest. Some 16-19 year old students could learn to cope with abundance in a structured environment.
2. On the other hand, some higher level courses would probably lend themselves to a more substantial constructivist approach though I would suggest that even here there needs to be a study skills element before students are cast adrift in cyberspace.
3. Our open education mooc seems to be concentrating on connectivism where learning in a network is the key.
How do we equip learners for abundance?
Some of us have already been chatting about the need for mental skills as well as digital skills . I’m not sure how we equip our learners but here are some thoughts:
- “curiosity, fearlessness to reach out to people you don’t know, flexibilty to see the possibilties in lines of thought or people that might not be directly related to your field of interest.” (Liz Lockett)
- without the courage and curiosity you can’t build a PLN.(Inger-Marie Christensen)
- resilience, when you lose the thread
- faith in your own ability is key
- the realisation that the network is bigger than the individuals
- the realisation that it is not competitive
- online skills, like any study skills, can be learned
- being comfortable with the idea of putting your views ‘out there’
- a clear idea of the learning outcomes of a course is vital for the student, to avoid too many scenic detours which may be interesting but also time-consuming
- is the ability to thrive with online learning a skill which can be learned or is it a character trait which you have or have not?
What mental skills would you add?