Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Beyond the hype

Hype by elizaIO, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License  by elizaIO

MOOCs are at the top of the hype cycle at the moment and the rhetoric is often rather exaggerated to say the least. Almost every day there are eye-catching headlines about how this is going to revolutionize/disrupt/replace higher education and how this trend is a major game-changer or paradigm shift. I admit those phrases have passed my lips as well but maybe it's time to tone down the hype and start look at the more practical implications.

Martin Weller gives us an excellent reminder to avoid unnecessary exaggeration in the education debate in a short post called Disrupting Disruption.

"Disruptors are not concerned about your specific problem, they only have blanket solutions. They don't worry about making something useful, only about sounding revolutionary. Disruption is about ego. You see disruption appeals to people because it's revolutionary, elite, new, sexy. Just being useful or practical looks all dowdy besides practical."

Another danger in the hype is that instead of inspiring traditionalists to take notice of new approaches to education, the exaggerations make them even more convinced that MOOCs or whatever else is being hyped are simply a passing fad and should not be taken very seriously. Let's calm the rhetoric and see MOOCs or whatever they will be called in the future as interesting experiments to widen the scope of education. They may add new dimensions to the existing forms of education rather than replacing or disrupting. Let's see it as part of a development rather than a revolution.

1 comment:

  1. You get bonus MOOC points for quoting me Alastair.