In other words, we need a little more humility about the potential role of OERs. There are niche markets such as continuing education that can still be very large that can be served by initiatives such as edX and MOOCs. But the real value of OERs will be to shift instructors away from the creation and delivery of content to focusing on how best learning can be developed and facilitated for, in and by our students. This way we will avoid developing automatons and instead will be developing people who can think for themselves.
And so many people in web design have been trying to figure out how do we make a web page that sucks every single person in the known universe in. And when you’re trying to get expert answers to difficult questions, that is the opposite problem. You actually want to drive away as many morons as you possibly can, hopefully as quickly as possible.
Providers of free online courses are officially in the headhunting business, bringing in revenue by selling to employers information about high-performing students who might be a good fit for open jobs.
To me, the next step is the integration and standardization of community contributions in serious online communities of practice. When they have a way to transfer and talk about reputation, about community value, they also will have access to this very promising revenue stream. The well-known Q&A community StackOverflow has had this business model for quite some time now with a very valuable online Q&A site on the one hand (for some the best and most up-to-date resource online in their field), and a careers site on the other in perfect symbiosis. Other IT-related communities are also taking the ‘online reputation’ more seriously and with the Open Badge Infrastructure, and similar initiatives, this might spread to other industries as well.
For more in-depth information about this topic, please have a look at a book chapter I’ve written on the topic on Research Gate.
Change isn’t just about technology, of course. Those things that a screen cannot offer – community, tuition, interpersonal dialogue, shared space and time – are only going to feel more precious amid the increasingly rich educational pickings online. Above all, though, it’s having access to a screen in the first place that counts. Achieve that, and you can build from scratch – or rebuild – whatever local structures will best support a community of education and aspiration. Some may resemble, or develop from, current institutions. Many won’t, and shouldn’t, not least because much of what constitutes an institution in the first place is expressly designed to resist reform.
We found that…
… learners studied longer when they were in a group study session than when they were alone. Studies have shown that time on task is a key predictor of study effectiveness.
… learners studied over 2x as many questions when they were in a group study session as when they were alone.
… learners were more likely to answer questions correctly when they were in a group study session than when they were alone.
This could be the DNA for a physical school where students spend 20 percent of their day watching videos and doing self-paced exercises and the rest of the day building robots or painting pictures or composing music or whatever.
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