RESOURCE: Group work advice for MOOC providers
The most valuable aspect of MOOCs is that the large number of learners enables the formation of sub-networks based on interested, geography, language, or some other attribute that draws individuals together. With 20 students in a class, limited options exist for forming sub-networks. When you have 5,000 students, new configurations are possible.
The “new pedagogical models” (A Silicon Valley term meaning: we didn’t read the literature and still don’t realize that these findings are two, three, or more decades old) being discovered by MOOC providers supports what most academics and experienced teachers know about learning: it’s a social, active, and participatory process.
The current MOOC providers have adopted a regressive pedagogy: small scale learning chunks reminiscent of the the heady days of cognitivism and military training. Ah, the 1960′s. What a great time to be a learner.
In order to move past this small chunk model of learning, MOOC providers will need to include problem based learning and group learning in their offerings. That won’t be easy. MOOCs have high dropout rates. Which means that if you’re assigned to a group of 10 learners, by the end of the course, you’ll be the only one left.