One can make the argument that educational theory and pedagogy don’t matter in the context of MOOC, because MOOC has ascended to magnificent heights prior to scholarly research or pedagogical rigor used in analysis of the learning system; if the State of California is going to require colleges to accept certain MOOCs for college credit, debating theory and pedagogy is akin to rearranging deck chairs.
That doesn’t stop MOOC providers from dressing themselves in pedagogy. One can’t blame them; product management 101 indicates the importance of promoting value and rigor in an item, even if the promotion is the only place the value and rigor exist. Case in point: Udacity’s proclamation that the lecture is dead. To prove the point, Udacity follows up with “Bite-size videos make learning fun.” Perhaps this is just semantics, but the video remains a lecture, correct? There is still only a one-way communication happening from sender to receiver, and the receiver has no opportunity to send back to the source. That’s a lecture, just as a snack.
Learning is fun; watch any toddler engage a new concept. Read some Piaget or Vygotsky. Learning has the potential to not be fun, certainly — I know my high school geometry course was only 10 months long, but at the time it felt like watching the teacher write proofs on the Elmo overhead projector stole my present and future. But fun learning was not invented four years ago with the advent of a ten-minute recorded lecture. At best, it’s the seven second abs of education.
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