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Snowed under… January 19, 2013

Posted by adam1warren in Uncategorized.


I’ve really tried to keep up, but its all been too much, too fast, with no time to digest and think. I find it ironic that although the tutors profess a strong belief in learner-centred learning design they have created a relentless timetable of defined activities that seek to regulate when and how I interact with the course. Providing guidance and scaffolding for learning is great, but I’m feeling overwhelmed and micro-managed. I also think that the estimates they provide for the time required for the activities are wildly optimistic. For example, this weekend they want me to apply contextual approaches to my learning design using either personas and force maps or an Ecology of Resources approach.

Personas? Yesterday I was pointed at a list of ten academic papers about the subject I could read (which one or two should I choose?) On Friday evening, at the end of a long week? No thanks… I’m motivated, but not that motivated.

Force Maps? All I could find about them is on this page, which has three scrappy diagrams and a paragraph of explanation. What’s the point of them? How are they used? How do they influence our learning design?

Ecology of Resources? The page on these suggests ‘skimming through the presentations below’ – the first has 78 slides, the second has 63, the third 28 and the last a measly 15. Have none of the tutors discovered that students can’t learn anything from slides intended to support a talk? Have they forgotten the basics of good educational resource design in their enthusiasm for the ‘open’ part of OERs?

So just to recap, I have a pile of academic papers, three scrappy diagrams and some bloated PowerPoints which I’m supposed to read, understand and digest in one day so that I can apply them to my barely-formed project this weekend? Suggested total time: 1 hour 45 minutes. Maybe if if I’d spent the whole weekend reading and thinking about this I might have made some progress, but I’m afraid I just lost the will to keep going.

So, I’m still really interested in learning design, but have decided that this is not the way for me to learn about it. I’m a reasonably self-motivated active learner, so I’ll just do it at my own pace in my own time. Which brings me to a fundamental problem that seems to be a core ‘feature’ of all moocs: that they only work for students who are already independent and highly motivated learners. If they are going to be the solution to the challenge of affordable mass education, they are going to have to use learning designs that work for less motivated learners by providing the carefully scaffolded learning activities, feedback and sense of progress that they require. They will also need to be sufficiently flexible that the study activities can be fitted into busy lives.

So, farewell OLDS-MOOC; thanks for the hard work you’ve undoubtedly put into setting this up but I’m afraid it didn’t work for me.



1. Mark - January 24, 2013

Thanks Adam. This sums up my experience entirely. I spent a ridiculously long time on the scenario thing, and found it really useful – but by the time I’d finished most everyone had moved on. Force maps have me mystified as well and I didn’t even get to the Ecology of Resources (the pink web page filled with tiny print wasn’t very inviting). I’ll stick it out another week then decide.

2. Constructivism and DI its not an either/or #FOEMOOC | Ron Amundson's Blog - February 11, 2013

[…] of negative learning playing out in a huge way across a vast number of cMOOCs. I see folks getting snowed under left and right… at least with a stage on a sage with a firehose, you at least know where its […]

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