I read this today and thought it was worth sharing with everyone and along with Inge‘s blog makes some interesting reading.  For me the jury is still out on the real value of MOOC’s and other large online courses and programs, why?  well I am just not convinced that in the long run we are actually getting any real tangible benefits from these programs.

That is not to say that I don’t see value in learning new things, and providing people with new ways in which to learn them and to interact and the like.  However without things like formal accreditation and assessment process how do we know what we, or in an organisational sense what has been learned.

The other thing that worries me about relates directly to the ease at which we can enroll in courses, any courses really, whether or not we might be able to or have the opportunity to utilise the knowledge gained from these courses.  I good enroll and complete a course in Astronomy, but unless I have an avenue in which to practice what I have learned, my knowledge is gradually going to fade away.  We all know that in order to keep ones skills in an area, that one needs to be able to practice those skills.  So if we do all of these courses and learn lots of things, but we never actually apply any of the things that we have learnt in the real world, what is the point, because that knowledge will degrade over time.

I think MOOC’s are a great idea, but like with a lot of these things we can get carried away on the idea, and the possibility and sometimes forget that there is and has to be real world applications for the skills that we learn.

Jonathan Walsh

This link directs to an post about two big problems with online college courses. They are as follows:

1. Online College courses have a very high attrition rate. In some cases 90% of the students who enroll drop-out.

2. Online college courses are inappropriate for struggling college students who make up a significant portion of college enrollment.

The estimate of 90% drop out rate applies to MOOCs. They are free and can be joined on a whim. Daphne Koller in her TED talk discusses how with a free and accessible online course there will be many who enroll due the consequence free nature of it. Many of these early enrollers lose interest or find they do not have time and drop-out. Those that remained are more dedicated and genuinely enthusiastic about learning. She also makes the point that even with this huge drop out rate a MOOC can still reach considerably more…

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About pauldrasmussen
Paul Rasmussen is one of Australia’s most widely read Vocational Education and Training Commentators. He provides deep, unbiased analysis and insights not only on topical issues, but also on the underlying structure and policy which supports the industry. His writing and analysis has been praised for its uncompromising and thought provoking style and its ability to focus on the issues of real importance to the sector. He has advised various government departments and ministers, training providers, public and private organisations, not for profits and small to medium enterprises on the VET sector and the issues and opportunities facing it. He is one of Australia’s most awarded learning professionals and a regular speaker at a range of conventions and forums. His extensive experience in vocational education, and learning and development coupled with formal qualifications in philosophy, ethics, business and education management allow Paul to provide a unique view of the road ahead and how to navigate it.

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