Monday, June 24, 2013

Learner-initiated learning

An article by Trent Batson on Campus Technology, The Essence of MOOCs: Multi-Venue, Non-Linear, Learner-Initiated Learning, sees the present MOOC movement as only one element of a more wider and fundamental change in education. Instead of solely relying on institutions to offer ready-made courses the modern learner has many other options available. The move towards learner-initiated learning is about learners taking charge of their own development and actively looking for the right courses, communities or networks that will help you learn the skills you need. In this arena MOOCs are simply one of many potential arenas for learning.

"The upswing of interest in MOOCs is perhaps a harbinger of the speeding up of a historic move to learner-initiated learning (LIL). Learner-initiated learning is a term that may best describe the new forms of learning that have emerged to combine learning experiences from multiple venues. An internship here, a course there, job-related learning here, self study there and so on (often called DIY learning). Even students enrolled in degree programs do "swirling," taking courses from colleges or universities away from their home institution. Or, as an added option now, learners may take a MOOC, or use open education resources as part of or in addition to assigned materials. LIL is also related to "self-directed learning" or "self-initiated learning," two research threads that began in the last century."

Those who succeed in this new educational ecosystem will be those who have learned how to learn, are digitally literate and are able to develop their own learning portfolio. This portfolio on the net will contain all your significant work from courses, projects, publications and other activities such as blogs or wikis. Keeping this updated and in an accessible and coherent structure will be essential so that particular units or sequences of work can be validated and assessed by independent reviewers when necessary.

The challenge for today's educators is helping as many as possible to be part of this development - learning to learn.

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