Monday, July 13, 2015

Power of Connections and the Quest to Connect Alternate Universes

Power of Connections and the Quest to Connect Alternate Universes

In anticipation of the official course launch tomorrow, I wanted to share a few thoughts about why we have both a “closed” course taking place in a formal learning environment – here at NextThoughtas well as an “open” version of our content on the open Web.

1. One reason is my own quixotic conviction that we don’tshouldn’t?have to choose between the ostensible extremes of formal learning environments such as LMS platforms and open or informal learning environments like those modeled in Rhizo15, Connected Courses, or CLMOOC.

We can bridge these different learning technology/framework models and their underlying philosophies in a way that makes sense for everyone. We can create technology frameworks that allow participants and practitioners alike to choose the learning environment that makes most sense for their needs without sacrificing the overall learning potential or pedagogical vision.

With that in mind, one of the reasons we’re offering our content through both traditional and open course platforms is that we want to encourage the broadest collaboration possible around our ideas.

In addition, by facilitating interaction and conversations within the NextThought platform as well as across social media and blogs, we – we being NextThought and Rob as Chief Product Officercan examine the connections and functionality needed across learning frameworks in order to provide the best options for both structured-open and open-structured learning models.

2. Another reason we’re offering the course in two different environments is because of our commitment to connected learning.

Enduring learning is created 1) through active learner participation and creation, and 2) by generating the greatest number of connections – people, communities, and information resources – within a participant’s personal learning network.

If we offer the course only in an open environment, we miss out on the audience/community that’s more comfortable in traditional, structured environments. And if we offer the course only within a closed learning environment, we omit the power of vibrant, open learning communities across the Web. By addressing one framework at the exclusion of the other, we minimize the connected learning potential of the course.

Of course, that places an additional burden on the facilitators at this particular juncture because someone has to bridge the two options. Since neither platform can do that, we have to do it manually. In order to bridge the different options adequately to allow members of both communities to connect benefit from one another, we will capture conversations and contributions from both communities and make them available.

3. Finally, sharing broadly and actively is a key to teaching out loud and increasing teacher engagement overall.

We need to encourage different communities into our thinking and planning processes, and we need to open ourselves to dynamic interactions in our courses and innovative evolutions in our content. That’s how we’ll become more engaged as teachers and facilitators. Simply put, teaching like this makes the whole experience at least twice as fun – for everyone concerned.

And we wouldn’t have it any other way.

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