Otto Peters on Distance Ed & Industrialization

A lot of the research I have found on distance education comes from Otto Peters.  In a 1967 writing on Industrialization & Distance Ed, Peters echoes Annand in saying that educative practices have not changed in hundreds of years, despite the rest of the world undergoing the Industrial Revolution.  Peters does not specifically call for industrializing education, but he says it needs to be considered relative to cost effectiveness and access options.  Big quote:

In order to facilitate the discovery of further relationships between distance teaching and the production process, the following structural changes – essentially brought about by industrialization in the development of the production of goods should be noted:

  1. According to the principle of rationalization, individual work as was traditional in the craftsmen’s trades changes at an early stage to a production based on the division of labour (e.g., in factories), and this later leads to the development of assembly lines and mass production.
  2. Work processes initially characterized by the use of tools are increasingly restructured by mechanization and, later, automation.
  3. In detail, these changes lead to the following results:
    • The preparatory phase becomes increasingly important.
    • Success depends, among other things, on systematic planning and organization.
    • Scientific measures of control are needed.
    • Work processes must be formalized and products standardized.
    • The production process is objectified.
    • Each developmental step towards increased mechanization leads to changes in the function of those involved in the production process.
    • Small concerns are no longer able to raise the investment needed for developmental work and technical equipment. A strong tendency towards concentration and centralization becomes noticeable.

This issue, the industrialization of education, is something MOOCs could address obviously, but it belies a notion of what education is.  Is education about gaining content, or is it about the ability to apply content?  aiMOOCs may tend toward the initial phase, with cMOOCs the latter.  Connectivism seems to say that in a networked world, we don’t need to know as much what as we do how to use what.

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