Training and language in the 21st Century

Sorting out “MOOCs”.

As part of my participation in the Coursera #EDCMOC (Digital Cultures), I came upon this article of “Sorting out MOOCs – Doing by learning (and vice versa).” Although this article is a discussion of which term to use to describe some of the new knowledge acquisition tools that have appeared in the 21st Century, what really interests me is all the new terms and new content and new concepts that exist now in the Global Village of learners, such as

– Obviously MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses)

– Learning events

– Courses with a connectivist take on learning

– Instructor-led free virtual courses

– Courses with distributed contents

– Courses with network tasks and content

– Courses organized with leaner-centered approaches

– Online unconferences 

– Game-ified language learning programs

– Virtual “Task based (developing a skill by doing [in the virtual world]…)|

– “Exploring new business models for higher education”

– Big course platforms as Coursera, Udacity, edX

– “Network based (the connectivist approach with a big role for community and content created by the learners…)”

– “Learning event with a start date for interactions between a group of people who follow the same course”

– Learning event where the “learners start a sequence of learning packages anytime (Like Duolingoor”

and the most interesting of them all, which ties directly into the EDCMOOC I am attending:

– “It is not the course platform that determines the type of MOOC , it is the “design” or set-up of the MOOC and the organisation of its contents and interactions.”

Quoting the blog, this is exactly what I have found myself doing and experiencing in this new way of learning:

“But with EDCMOOC, the E-Learning and Digital Cultures course run by the University of Edinburgh on Coursera, you get a hybrid kind of MOOC with a big learning community that has organized itself outside of the course platform, months before the MOOC-part of the course had even started. Students are free to use the course platform for discussions, or to use their own choice of social platform. The only assignment is a peer reviewed final digital artefact. The content of the MOOC is also encouraging dialogue and reflecting on the affordances of online education, in the best of the connectivist tradition.”

Now, in terms of the concepts, the writer states that “the kinds of online learning events or sites that are being called a “MOOC” are so different, that we really need a new set of labels.”  That is true also in the larger context of learning.  I have been overwhelmed by the amount of new information, resources and venues to explore.  It is unfortunate for me that I was expecting much less from the course than I am actually getting and thus did not schedule sufficient time to really take full advantage of the “practice practice practice” concept that is implicitly encouraged throughout the course (and so dear to my own concepts of “good” training methodologies).

This course has opened so many doors for me that I am at a cross road as to how to manage my own courses.  I do not have the time right now to apply all this new knowledge about the technological tools at our disposal for interactive virtual training, but will certainly make sure that I apply all this learning in the near future.

What I do recommend everyone in the language service industry and the training industry (those I am directly involved in) is to take a really close look at what is happening with learning today.  I am participating in two Coursera courses, one with 40,000 students and another one with 60,000 students, from ALL over the world, literally.  Right now these courses are tought in English, I am assuming for logistics reasons.  My guess is that they will very soon be offered in a multitude of languages via “instant” interpreting or “web translation”.

Think of the possibilities.

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