Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Social learning expert panel #emoocs2015 #social

The eMOOCs2015 expert panel (Whitney Kilgore, Sian Bayne, Mike Sharples, Pierre Dubuc) sharing knowledge with all of us on the subject of social learning.

What do you feel is social learning?
Some pedagogies do not scale, eg sport teaching.

Social learning: what becomes better when more people take part: more diverse views, more perspectives => conversations. The rich conversations in FutureLearn are essential to learning in the platform as all of human reflection (individual or collaborative) revolves around conversation.

Social learning moves beyond learners and teachers, it is about participating in a course in such a way that you yourself learn, but also you yourself share what you know.

In the last decade the challenge has always been to make teaching social, it is connected to learning, as you cannot have learning without having a social interaction. It is very human (Tautology discussion). Either with other humans, or other beings, or things.

What is the effect of tools inside mooc platforms (likes, marked as done…)?
Not everybody wants to be social, they do not necessarily take part in any action or discussion. The challenge is to make tools that feel very intuitive, so that the participation threshold would be really low (eg conversational discussions that go on and are not threaded).

 LinkedIn is the biggest professional platform which just acquired, but does this make it social? is not really a social learning platform, it is more a catalogue of videos, so less social. The intention of LinkedIn might have been that they have the sociograph, so they can fill the dots to become a social learning platform, maybe they can build it in by knowing what is missing and will work. But there is much to be done to do this. The merger is interesting, so the learning is on the inside. The thing that linkedin wants to do is to become the first stop on professional credentialing, so that is the play there. Adding degree would be of interest. We are short of time right now, so the bigger challenge would be to make learning quitter so that learning can happen. On the other hand, chaotic conversations bring people together, so simply the engagement with other people can be enriching.

Amnesty International are very much offline, they are now creating a MOOC, but we want to create  a social space that can be safe even though th participants will most probably sometimes use hard voices? How can we make a sanctuary? FutureLearn also had that anxiety, but in the end it did not happen for a number of reasons: the initial cohort of futurelearn based on known, good communicators (alumni OU eg), the discussions are not fully open, it is embedded in contexts related to learning content. When you get extreme views, immediately others come in and ask that person to provide evidence of what they propose, and because they attract less followers, the end up yelling in the desert of the course. FutureLearn uses a moderator company that looks at bad messages and sees whether they are indeed over the line. At the other hand, with such a company you risk of excluding people, so at which point do we need to have active moderation within a group of people who are interested in the topic.

Anonymous or known commenting options? Because conversations can be taken out of MOOC platforms and used in research, it is pivotal (for ethical reasons) that those who participate in MOOCs use their own name. On the other side, it might still be necessary to be able to work in an anonymous way as well.

How do you guide and direct conversations on a massive scale? Guidance is not necessarily (and to most adults not) necessary.

Diversity versus cultural symbolic capital as an effect on the resulting conversations? There is a tension between what we can do to keep the diversity in terms of cultural, religious approaches that are used in MOOCs, but in the end all of us have our own educational paradigm which we think is ‘ideal’ whether that is or not. One option that was done on humanMOOC was to create regional groups, where participants could meet and feel they could share similar cultural ideas and realities. But in the end there is indeed the risk of making a homogenous conversation, where diversity has been erased for most of it. So, it is difficult to keep it, yet it might be inevitable as well…

Question on what are the latest tools
Check out (as a new sort of tool)
LTI learning tool interoperability is of interest if you plan moocs and want to use different tools from outside.
The latest tools do not make the most social learning, only those that survive can become social in use.

What is your favourite sort of tech that is not yet had a tool solution? Citizens inquiry is still underdeveloped, anybody can start an investigation and others can join and all about science. That is not yet fully supported, but very interesting.

What is missing in social learning? You cannot divide the tech from the social, so I would like to see a more mutual emergent entities (entymological shift). The business models: sometimes there are very good ideas, but that do not go beyond the creation phase due to budgets, degrees. So it would be good to be able to ensure more successful learning based on durable business models. Continuity in connectivity, when adults were asked whether they did learn, and what they learned. Almost all adults (10 years ago study) said they were engaged in learning (language, sport, community…). Online these fields are disconnected, eg the art course in F-2-F is disconnected from MOOCs, so how can we connect this, and how can we create such communities of connected learners and fields, because over a lifetime these locations and connections change, so keeping on top of this makes it easy. Sustaining and maintaining communities is a challenge, through a number of tools, and they ask active engagement about (eg COP versus PLE). As digital educators we will help and shape those types of communities.