Effective learning in a cMOOC

Quote from Alec Couros on etmooc.org


For many people, even the more experienced networked learners, MOOCs can be overwhelming. In fact, some posit that complexity is an essential part of the experience. However, I am hoping to provide a bit of guidance and encouragement here to assure you that feelings of ‘being lost’ are common, but through persistence, sense-making, and personal connections, the vast majority of learners can persevere and make great gains through the dissonance and complexity.


I’ve said for years that my online network has been a huge boon in my learning. I’ve even been known to say that twitter has taught me more about teaching than my years in college (though perhaps not my time in the classroom). Of course blogging (reflecting) has been as important.

I’ve also been known to say that learning online has been like trying to drink from a firehose. This is my fourth MOOC and the first that I have helped to organize. The experience is still the same, when you gather this many smart people in one place I think it is inevitable that there be too much learning and teaching going on for any single person to keep up with. The cMOOCs make it even worse because the curriculum is more open, we expect people to take a variety of paths.


'I am SO full'

‘I am SO full’ (Photo credit: Ben McLeod)


The most important lesson I’ve learned from these MOOCs is to focus. Do I want to learn how to use the hundreds of web tools that will be introduced? Do I want to be strongly familiar with just a few? Do I want to learn how these tools are used in classrooms? Do I want to learn how these tools relate to the pedagogy in the classroom? Do I want to read some research papers? Do i want to test some of these ideas on my own classroom? The trick is to kind of pick your own essential question.

The point is; the time is now to pick a question or two and keep it as a focus. It is alright to get off track, but always return to the main point of focus that is important to you. I think most people drop out of MOOC after the halfway point because they feel like they have worked hard and have nothing to show for it. A pinch of self-restraint now will pay off huge down the road.


I just wanted to add this cool video that I think sums up the idea nicely

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2 thoughts on “Effective learning in a cMOOC

  1. Thanks for including my video. I am a huge fan of your emphasis on choosing a focus and then going as deep as you can with it. I think that in the next few weeks it is going to be important to keep on engaging one another in this practice because of how many people will want to drop out at that point. Let’s keep the community grounded and ready for more learning!

  2. Pingback: MOOCs – I must learn more, but oh what an emerging field.

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