Learning Technology Trends for the New Year

Happy New Year! Skipped posts in December! I thought I’d write a post about Learning Technology trends for the new year. Newspapers, Magazines and websites such as the BBC are awash with  predictions of things to come!

Anyone interested in education couldn’t have missed MOOCs – Massive Open Online Courses, first brought to our attention in this country by the three main US providers Coursera, edX and Udacity. The idea is simple, a mass participation in a course using the web. Seems like the next step in distance learning? Maybe. The idea of the MOOC has been criticised by several educationalists. Professor Mark Guzdial, who in his blog post makes some very good points about the dangers of MOOCs replacing good face to face teaching in Schools and Universities. The analogy is like giving a textbook or worse, an Encyclopedia to a student and asking them to learn it. This year sees the launch of the Open University’s FutureLearn MOOC Project, the first in the UK to rival the US providers, as Times Higher Education reported. This year also sees the launch of another Open University initiative, called OLDS, a MOOC on the topic of Curriculum Design – http://www.olds.ac.uk/. The course starts 10th January.

The idea of a technology replacing face to face teaching is not a new concept. As with many technologies, people think there’s a magic button to press and suddenly the technology will take away the human involvement. In my view, this is rarely the case. If you are using a MOOC or a course in a virtual learning environment, the teacher needs to be present to do the job of teaching, motivating and designing the learning so the student has their own mental model of the concepts and can apply them to different situations or use them to understand further knowledge. As Professor Gilly Salmon mentions you need to plan for e-Learning, you can’t just ‘busk’ it.

There are some inspirational videos around what the future of learning will look like. One such video I saw last year was produced by Ericsson called The Future of Learning, Networked Society – Ericsson. Another video around the topic of Changing Education Paradigms, presented by Sir Ken Robinson.

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