Tag Archives: AllLearn

Gartner’s Hype Cycle as Springboard – MOOC and Public Policy

A common theme in early MOOC criticism was a linking of the MOOC to Gartner’s Hype Cycle.

Certainly, a lot of hype accompanied the MOOC…more hype than for any EdTech innovation in education history, and perhaps more hype than for any learning model (or even agent of change) in higher education history. Spurred by a media narrative focused on a broken educational system, the MOOC was heralded not only as a means of providing cost-efficient education, but doing it through the best universities and professors in the world, for the entire world, in a way that would break down existing conventions of class and privilege. In short, MOOCs could crumble a bloated ivory tower while providing an education of higher-than-existing quality to individuals from around the world, eradicating student debt all the while.

Use of the hype cycle in discussion of MOOCs looked at the learning model as a present artifact that needed attachment to a history. That history could be MIT’s OpenCourseware, Columbia’s Fathom, Yale & Stanford’s AllLearn, the use of television in education (such as Nebraska Educational Telecommunications of the 1960s), the use of radio in education, or even the establishment of correspondence-based schools in the late 19th Century (such as Cornell University’s satellite school of correspondence). None of these innovations proved to be game-changers for higher education; moreover, almost all of the above were deemed failures by the developing institutions.

But the MOOC is ahistorical, borne of an intersection of machine learning, computer science and a TED talk by Sal Khan. It cannot be rated entirely on the history of similar distance education ventures, if at all.

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What’s the Difference b/t MOOCs and AllLearn?

Read an interesting article today (from 2006) on the demise of AllLearn, an online learning initiative designed by Oxford, Yale and Stanford back during the dot com boom.  The article focuses on AllLearn, though it looks at the end of other similar initiatives during the same time period, seeing AllLearn as a marked failure of non-degreed online learning at that time period.

I wonder how many people on the MOOC bandwagon had not heard of AllLearn.  In the 50+ readings I have encountered (just during my dissertation lit review), only one has made mention of AllLearn, or any similar higher ed online ventures.  With none of the research lit or pop lit on MOOCs discussing the failures of prior attempts by higher education, this seems like a place needing some dissection and research. Until then, a few initial thoughts: Continue reading