Full paper Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia 2015

Recognising learner autonomy: Lessons and reflections from a joint x/c MOOC (#106)

Shane Dawson 1 , Dragan Gasevic , George Siemens
  1. University of South Australia, Adelaide, SA, Australia

Abstract Content (up to 300 words recommended)

 The long standing model of education and training has focused on a classroom centric process with formalised credentials being the domain of the higher education space. However, this process is progressively being challenged with the growth of new and open education models such as Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and open badging. Increasingly, private and public industry are now recognising the importance for greater flexibility in all modes of learning from formal to informal and workplace based. As such there is a growing acknowledgement both within and outside the education sector that the achievement of competencies or learning outcomes and the awarding of credentials is not limited and cannot be limited to universities and colleges alone.

Similar to the drive for alternate credential processes there is a need for education to better cater to the complexities of lifelong learning and multiple careers. However, the rhetoric of establishing such open and personalised learning pathways is far easier than the reality of implementation and organisational change. For instance, univeristies have long struggled to break away from the “credit hour” while learners are now being challenged to be more independent in their learning choices and education needs. The intent of this paper is to unpack new models of education that embrace open learning pathways for lifelong learning and productive participation in the information age. The paper draws on the recent research and experiences gained from running a simultaneous x and c MOOC using newly developed software that effectively enables learner autonomy in their education process. The software called ProSolo links user nominated learning goals and experiences directly to the achievement of competencies. This process provides learners with greater flexibility in their study needs and options by removing the rigidity of more traditional education programs and offers new models of micro-credentialling.

Addressing the theme/s of the Conference (up to 200 words recommended)

The conference theme of learning for life and work in a complex world calls for alternate modes of learning and assessment. This paper outlines and discusses these new models of education in response to the recognition that education extends beyond the formal classroom. Lifelong learning is complex and ever changing as individuals tap into training and open education offerings in a more dynamic and flexible process. This paper details the changing nature of higher education through the lens of a connectivist and traditional (c/x respectively) MOOC. 

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