Learning based on Technology isn't a new thing. Learning sans technology might come as a new thing and will surely fail us. Since the ages when we came out of caves, the reasons were not based on some divine intervention or some magic wand. We had actually moved from being naive to natives of the earth by starting INVENTING.
This pursuit of discovery and invention, this faculty to experiment and express; this accomplishment of creativity and communication has led us to make our lives not just comfortable but sustainable. At a time when even the United Nations is working to accomplish Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), learning through Technology, with Technology and because of Technology seems an inseparable part of education.
If we see the reflective side of education, we can realise that it was the inherent technology to articulate that gave birth to languages, millions of them. The same technology invented an individual who shall use techniques designed to impart learning. Then we moved to the next paradigm and used technology to launch education at a larger scale for mass education. That brought us to the canvas of this modern world. We have painted it the way we want it and the way we need it to be.
Technology in education hence is not a thing to debate over. It had always been there and shall always be. The newest dimension of technology in education is E-learning and that is what we can conference about. Technology, per se, is all that has been invented and added to our life to make it better. So, things used in life cannot be kept away from the workshop where we prepare the human for life itself. Learning over the Internet/web and using computer-based resources is the truest reflection of how we are living our lives. Moving ahead from OHPs to Screen Projections and now to AR, VR, AI, 3D, Simulation and Online Learning we can see that the next step to Learning for Life is in MOOCs.
The next IN Thing:
Not just India but the whole world is investing a huge amount of resources towards e-learning. Massive Open Online Courses possess a significant part of this. Be it a one hour or one month course, the purpose has been to reach out. The rise of unemployable degree holders can be brought down by trying this remedy of introducing them yet again to learning, this time the way they can. These online learning courses have been added to the traditional curriculum and will soon be getting credits as well as Credit. The flexibility of making a choice in learning and the ease of participation are the two fundamentals of a good education. MOOCs can help in getting them back.
The question that Teachers cannot be replaced by technology is out of context because it is the teachers who are inventing Educational Technology. So, their subordinate here is not a Hollywood sci-fi Iron man, who gradually turns against the maker itself. It serves them honestly if they use it for good. Besides, the true observation is that the teachers using technology will replace the teachers who don't use technology. This we can not deny as it is a matter of competition.
If you have come this far in reading this blog, let me share some reasons to believe in MOOCs. It is pleasant for me to mention that my students are doing MOOCs for a decade now. They might be in their schools or in HigherEd, they know how to do one.
The Magnet Effect: If you eat something utterly delicious at a friend's home, you are expected to get tempted to ask for it more often. Introducing MOOCs to school kids or even to graduates should be taken in this sense. They need not get jobs through MOOCs. But what they learn is far more important. They earn a MAGNET that will give them a reason to pursue UpSkilling and even Re-Skilling with an open heart.
Online Learning does not need resources or certifications at a young age in schools or first years of college life, it rather needs 'temperament'. Doing MOOCs, the shortest ones adds that magnet to your mind. In future, if the learners come across this product, they do buy this and engage in sincere learning.
Introduced to Skills: The students in the classrooms have a ritualistic curriculum and a stereotyped way of delivering the completion report of the syllabus to the students. MOOCs introduce the learners to subjects, even the same concepts. But the subjects are expected to become their SKILLs because they have endeavoured to learn. This introduction to Skills helps in future to introduce their 'enhanced Skills-sets to employers.
Peer to Peer Alternative Topic to Talk: One must not speak unless he can improve the silence. One must not talk unless one does not make sense. One must not learn unless one cannot share learning. In the age of PUBG and Tik-Tok, the youngsters in schools and colleges can be given something alternative to talk about. This might give them an educative diversion for some time.
Collaboration: One of the primary skills that the business and the corporate world demands are that of Collaboration. If you cannot work with people and cannot collaborate, you are far away from 21st-century skills. Working Together is as much a career skill as it is a human need now. Participation with MOOCs can help us collaborate with students and even the learners come together to share learning.
Engagement with Technology: Entertainment is not the decoration of walls and ways. It is rather engaging the audience by customising the messages and products. MOOCs shall help us learn that Technology isn't an alien thing and our healthy engagement can actually empower us better than ever. The purpose of motivating the youngest students in HigherEd classroom should focus on the establishment of this culture.
Employability: No use in citing data because we all know that employers are no more happy with the quality of graduates. To be employable, one needs both the Knowledge and Competence to present-cum-utilise them. MOOCs, let a person enhance employability- the potential, capability and utility by introducing them to exceptional learning opportunities.
Multi-Dimensional Skills Sets: There is no space in the world for those who are obsessive about being linear in their skills. If you can perform well in more than one vertical or field of work, you have healthy chances of getting acknowledged. A 3D movie keeps the eyes glued more than a single D. MOOCs provide the opportunity to earn other skills as well as advanced skills.
The Happiness of Accomplishment: There is a direct relationship between Reward and Motivation to do something. Certificates matter a lot to the Millennials. The acquisition of a Certificate, outside the 'enrolled' institution, is called an Accomplishment. The same way a dance or music or Orator wins and earns a sense of pride, A MOOC Learner wins the Happiness of Accomplishment for his own self. It does feel good to have a number of MOOCs in your kitty.
Makes you a part of the globally knitted world: The world is a small place and that too with the help of Technology. Isn't it interesting to see that the same technology that has transformed our lives, empowered the education itself, it looked down upon by the Educational Policy Makers? However, the happy thing about doing MOOCs is that what you have done is something international. Someone in some other part of the world is also doing the same thing. No Walls- No Contours on the Learning Map. MOOCs are the passport to the ONE World of LEARNING.
And if you become a teacher or you are a teacher today, it is a Blessing to be a Life-Long Learner. MOOCs give you a reason to pat your own back for walking the path not many people walk in this part of the world.
One more justification in favour of MOOCs is that PUCP is possible through this. PUCP is the Positive Use of Creative Potential. This age of youth doesn't need barricades and bans but alternatives and appreciation. Learning with Technology opens this world of self-assertion and self-awakening.
MOOCs or to say the whole celebration of e-learning is an experiment in education, the same way everything else has been. If it does not work, we have the option to rectify and if it does, we are going to reinforce the MOOCs Magic as an integral part. Whatever be the case, we cannot deny the presence by keeping our mental eyes closed. MOOCs exist and the Magic Prevails. Better we join and add this Halo to our Learning. Learning isn't an assignment forced on us. Learning is a temperament that has to be developed and to do this, we need to experiment endlessly.
This Magic of MOOCs shall leave us attentively spell-bound once we allow participation and collaboration.