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Re: Using Adapt in the context of building Massive Open Online Courses
by x z - Wednesday, 8 April 2015, 2:12 PM

Here's my redrafted response  I'm really just musing out loud, but I hope  it helps and apologize in advance for being long-winded.


Adapt & MOOCs

My immediate reaction is that Adapt would be best used for modules embedded within a MOOC but would not lend itself to being a good framework for the entire course. The ideas below come to mind as I ask myself what pedagogical elements are missing in typical (if there is such a thing) MOOCs and how Adapt modules could be developed to deliver those.

Adaot modules might  be used to:

• personalize the learning experience -- Most xMOOCs and many f2f course seem to be based on the 'one size fits all' belief that one is really delivering the same learning experience to all participants and when that isn't the case (i.e. some don't do very well) that was because of some shortcoming or refusal to conform on the part of the learner. Personalization starts from the assumption that, though we want to ensure some common takeaways, each learner's overall course experience will be different. How then can we in a MOOC enhance individuals' personal connections to the content and also ensure that all leave with strong fundamentals which are used correctly in combination with other information in synthesis, application, extension, creative activities?

• improve our own instructional design skills by getting away from the 'more is more' syndrome and exercising selectivity -- Perhaps the Adapt modules would be best used to chunk the MOOC content and to use feedback and branching features in order to differentiate and either accelerate  or scaffold learning. I think one reason many MOOC participants don't complete could be cognitive overload (actual or perceived). Adapt modules could be used to move people more expeditiously through basic content and concept acquisition so they experience success faster and are motivated to stay in.

• incorporate more active learning -- Adapt modules can provide greater scope for interaction with the content which is especially important when interaction with course leaders may be minimal.

• provide thematic or problem-solving opportunities to help 'birds of a feather' find each other -- This could facilitate more peer connections and better focussed social learning.

• create, in combination with another tool such as Diigo, an interactive resources library to which participants can add  -- This would draw on and add value to the wisdom and work of the crowd.

• offer a pre-quiz with feedback (see Paul Welch's Guided Revision video) as a sort of MOOC preview that would show participants how their interests/needs could be met and  new skills/knowledge built  -- This could also be a useful source of data about who's in the course.

• develop different templates (reusable block combinations) for different kinds of activities to make navigation mire routine and help learners concentrate on content/concept learning and higher order task demands -- Having one pattern for content presentation & fundamentals mastery, another for problem-solving activities, etc. can give learners confidence in the overall organization of the course and in their ability to finish. Also once they've learned the navigation while doing easier stuff, one can crank up the level of difficulty & thinking required to be successful because learners don't have to devote any cognitive load to figuring out how the modules work.

Please note: this is mostly speculation on my part, but it's tempered with 2 years' experience as an online learner at the Master's level and several years's worth of rethinking my own strengths and weaknesses as an educator after a career if over 30 years. I'm in the process of creating a collection of basic skills apps for adults going back to school and for at-risk high school students. I'm starting with fractions.

The trick I'm trying to learn is how to balance meeting many learners' desire for brevity with what the learning sciences people now know makes for deeper understanding and longer recall: eg. breaking misconceptions fast & irrevocably, incorporating 'desirable difficulties', using the 'testing effect' to advantage, slowing the pace, and more.

How do I set up my apps so learners are both empowered to self-personalize (i.e. do what they want to do and get what they think they need) and are also motivated to go beyond simply meeting immediate needs (i.e. do more of what I want them to do) because I know it will foster more enduring and deeper learning so the skills and concepts can be applied skillfully and insightfully in other contexts and at higher levels?

[Resources I like to follow in next post]