In my presentation From OCW to Online Education I mention 5 big mistakes on online education:
- Believing that Virtual Education = Massive Education
- Believing that Online Education = Mysterious and Complex Education
- Putting Technology before Pedagogy
- Underestimating your Teachers and Students
- Taking the Fun out of Education
Because the presentation was not recording, a lot of people were interested if I could explain these mistakes in more detail. So here we go:
1. Believing that Virtual Education = Massive Education
First of all, virtual education is the same (for me) as online education (Online Education is something different then open education). The mistake here is that technology is a multiplier. With technology it is possible to reach thousands of students, but you should be aware that teaching and learning is one to one process. There is no limit in the number of Participants, Materials, Activities, Links …but learning is not accumulation but assimilation. You don’t have one course of 250… you have 250 courses of one.
I think this is also the problem with the low percentage of people that complete most MOOCs. In all the big MOOCs (Coursera, Udacity & EdX) they perception is that we technology they can teach thousands of students at once. But most students don't want to be a number, they need the personal contact with the teacher (offline or online) for their motivation and support to learn.
2. Believing that Online Education = Mysterious and Complex Education
There is no mystery in connecting someone who wants to learn and someone who wants to teach. If you give them the tools. They’ll do the magic.
There is a myth that goes around: A good traditional teacher will not easily become a good virtual teacher. This is not true, a good teacher is a good teacher with any tool. Although, we definitely should help him in making optimal use of the tool.
3. Putting Technology before Pedagogy
Technology is the tool that helps the teacher create materials to share with the student. Technology should be the bridge that allows the teacher – student interaction. In practise it is usually the other way around: teachers become subordinates of technology which dictates they way they should teach
4. Underestimating your Teachers and Students
Both teachers and students are smart people that always will find their way in or, if necessary, around the system.
Some schools have developed a virtual education system, but it is a closed system. Closed to criticism, closed to experimentation, closed to innovation.
So don't try to stop them, you should learn from them how to improve the system.
5. Taking the Fun out of Education
At some school education has become an industrial process. Control, supervision, measurements, indicators and reports have replaced the freedom and flexibility that was originally promised in virtual education. Education should be accidental, unpredictable, unscripted. There should be plenty of room in virtual education for spontaneity. Students and teacher should be encouraged to take risks.
Not all courses can be structured the same way. Uniformity and homogeneity can not be part of a human process. Doing, thinking, watching, analizing, proposing, building: the same ingredients cannot be equally formulated for all courses. Some courses are intensive in communication, some in reading, some in evaluation, some in theory, some in practice. The only constant for all courses is the genuine desire of both teachers and students to interact and have fun.
Comment from: Nathan [Visitor]
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