Slipping behind on postings as we move into a conversion project due by Christmas. The frustrating reality of rebuilding (evergreening) online courses is that 99% of the work is drudgery set to an impossible completion schedule. Even if there were time for “improvements”, the mandated changes essentially edit out the quirkiness of the courses created in the first generation of online delivery at our college. This is what happens when things go mainstream–new theories meet old values and the result is cosmetic at best.
At some point I’d like to go through the multi-point “Learning Rubric” (A resource for quality online curriculum creation) that we work to and ask if anyone really thinks making every course look and function the same has ANYTHING to do with learning. In the office I’m told it has to do with “cogitative overloading.” I read this answer to mean if something attracts the student’s attention or seems compelling they will be so interested in it they will forget to learn it.
Anyway, this is my tired self speaking.
I’m still thinking about community in online “classrooms” and found this quote interesting;
“It’s critical that training and development professionals not go overboard with command and control when they support informal learning. If they do they are likely to kill it. And since informal learning makes up the bulk of learning inside organizations, this could be a
truly perilous move.” ~ Patti Shank, Director of Research at The eLearning Guild
From: Smart Companies Support Informal Learning
The definition of informal learning seems to be based on who is speaking though in general the idea is that it involves self-direction. Which implies interest. I’m saying this based on a total lack of evidence beyond my personal observation that “credit” for taking training comes way after interest as a motivator. Things without interest need other inducements while “interest” appears to draw attentiveness
Nowhere in our learning rubric does the term “interest” ever come up. I get it that “understanding” can create interest in a sort of self driven loop or Csikszentmihalyi’s “flow” as APA PsycNet defines it: “Flow is a state of peak enjoyment, energetic focus, and creative concentration experienced by people engaged in adult play, which has become the basis of a highly creative approach to living.” Or maybe the less dramatic “engagement with everyday life” as Csikszentmihalyi himself might define it.
Since I seem to be talking myself into a circle: If we don’t attend to interest and engagement in our course design how can we expect community to emerge? We can force community with all sorts of tricks and enducements but then we come back to killing the expression of self-directed learning. And yes, it’s possible to get people into classrooms even if they aren’t “interested” though this seems a terrible waste of a free option built into every student.
And a note to myself to quit complaining about schools not changing*:
“It doesn’t make much sense to create a school culture of success from a climate of disappointment and intractable problems. The IFT believes school change should focus on what’s working; the great teaching taking place in our classrooms. Further, if we want to know why children are successful, talk to successful students and their parents. The IFT believes that the best strategy for school improvement is to investigate what’s working, not what’s broken. By focusing on what works in our schools and encouraging teacher independence and increasing capacity, we are more likely to have success.” http://www.teacherdrivenchange.org/
*Yale Wishnick, author of From a Culture of Dependency to a Culture of Success: Focusing on What’s Right About America and the American People.