Back to the theoretical grind, I was alerted to a research article on heutagogy as an alternative to andragogy. If that sentence is full of ambiguous words, it was for me too — both are theories of learning relating to adult education, a field in edu which supposes that adults learn in a manner different from children (which is a lot to suppose, but makes sense at first glance). While MOOC marketing departments have heralded the xMOOC’s ability to let an intrepid 12 year old take a Stanford course in computer programming (and, as a field, we need to see how Code Academy fits into the MOOC archetype), the history behind MOOCs comes either from traditional higher education (xMOOC) or distance education designed for higher education (cMOOC). Because traditional higher ed is seeing an upward shift in median age of student (and distance ed has always seen an older student population than in traditional ed), the theory the MOOC movement built on (or will build upon) needs to account for an adult population. Not surprisingly, little of the little MOOC research flows down this path. That leaves it to us to research, code and crunch. Getting into the work by Lisa Marie Blaschke… Continue reading
In a video interview with Forbes magazine, Sal Khan worked through a history of education, starting with an industrial view of the classroom experience (which Khan calls the Prussian model) and ending with Internet-based personalized learning such as his Khan Academy.
From this perspective, education has the potential to evolve from an age-defined small cohort model to a capability-defined infinite system where the individual is not restrained by the relative progress of others. Following that thread, such a system could not only change the dynamic of the classroom, but could reinvent the classroom, or even remove the bricks and mortar classroom altogether. Such potential greatly benefits students, according to this perspective.
There is pushback on this general belief system, as well as this interpretation of history — Audrey Watters provides a detailed critique of what Khan leaves out of his history, summarizing the facts into a call for perspective: Continue reading