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.
I should have known David Annand’s 2007 article on reorganizing universities for the information age would be a challenging read based on the keywords: Industrialization, Fordism, Luddites. Annand, a professor at Athabasca University (home of cMOOC innovators George Siemens & Stephen Downes), wrote about the changes he saw necessary in the digital age of higher education. His literature review, theoretical foundation and arguments ran in a direction I did not expect, calling into questions some of the beliefs I had built in my quest to define MOOC. Finding resistance, I am going to dive deep into the writing to see where the differentiation is and why. Continue reading →