I’m actually not a big fan of terms like ‘2.0’ or ‘3.0’ that are used to label internet and related products. Not only haven’t we ever see a ‘web 2.1’, these terms are used and misused in marketing or placement of web-services, pretending them to have functionalities that they may or may not have. Improved user experiences are way more important than perceived versions of something. But ok, given that these labels do exist, I will try to relate them with another trend in the online world of today: ‘MOOC’s’. Massive Online Open Courseware is hot. ‘Coursera’ is the most well known portal at which a lot of renowned institutes share some of their courses. I can only applaud the fact that (financial) thresholds to learning are
removed. A workforce that is highly educated over the entire spectrum, and not just a well trained academic elite is the only way that we as Western countries can compete with nations like China and India. In these countries millions of intelligent and ambitious people are born every year. This aside, I think the typical MOOC that is in place right now, or is being developed, is already outdated and ready for replacement by MOOC 2.0.
A MOOC in which the participant can only absorb information through web-lectures is typically what I would describe as ‘1.0’: a site through which one is only able to retrieve information. Retrieving and receiving information will help students that understand that particulair information. For for online courses to be really successful however you have to have at least a website that enables you to test if students actually learned something during that course. Also, if the student doesn’t understand all course-matter yet, the site has to make sure that they will. Especially because a trend in MOOC’s is that they will be more and more professional, meaning that for example students that follow a course are granted credits at the end.
This leads to quality control becoming more important, both in the MOOC itself and in the results from students. A high-end online course has to provide the same kind of attention traditional teaching methods do. This means a digital alternative providing the same personalized attention is a key succes factor. This means interactive exercises and other elements to diagnose and mediate and only then will it be able to be a worthy digital alternative. Now that weare already talking about education of the future, digital learning can bring more to the table. An intelligent and adaptive system can even make sure that students are evaluated and graded on a non-stop basis because of all the information that is available in such a system. This means that final and definite tests are not even necessary anymore. All the semantic information comprised in correct or wrong answers and the perceived preferences in different learning styles are already there. We are making it our mission to translate this, maybe into a real ‘Web 3.0 MOOC’! 😉