Pedagogy trumps Technology: Why All the Fuss about MOOCs?

February 22, 2013 at 5:53 am 1 comment

Nice piece in our C21U newsletter, suggesting that pedagogy is more important than the MOOC technology.  How we teach is much more important for dramatic impacts on learning, than aiming for scale via advanced technology.

We may find that MOOCs work well for self-motivated students who have a lot of technology at their fingertips, have been raised in stimulating intellectual environments all their lives, who have lots of support mechanisms within their grasp to help them learn the material, and who have the wherewithal to spend the time and energy required to learn deeply what is being taught in these MOOCs.

But what about those students who don’t have the resources required to support their learning, who have not been raised in intellectually stimulating environments, who don’t even know how to study well? It is hard to see how MOOCs will work for these students, yet these are the students that it is most important that we reach in order to meet the challenges of 21st-century education.

I would much rather see the resources of Georgia Tech and our nation’s other educational institutions, being used to support the creation of research-based learning environments that can most effectively support the learning of all students, regardless of their background. Learning environments that do not rely on the lecture. Learning environments that make good use of those precious and valuable times when students are in direct contact with their instructors.

via Why All the Fuss about MOOCs? | Center for 21st Century Universities.

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Rosemary Evans  |  February 24, 2013 at 8:41 am

    “How we teach is much more important for dramatic impacts on learning, than aiming for scale via advanced technology.”

    What would be interesting to consider is applying an “integrative thinking” approach to comtemplate how we might best develop a model of instruction that moves beyond the lecture model – delivered online and more interactive approaches. One of our teachers is having some promising results with “serious games” and “games for change”. See:

    Simply bringing the lecture model, offered by experts, to more people maintains a transmission model of teaching which in an era experiencing an incredible knowledge explosion, is open to question. A transformational pedagogy – that engages students in authentic problem-solving and inquiry- coupled with the reach of current MOOCS would be fascinating to consider.


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