New MOOC on the Power of Self-Directed Learning

I’m excited to announce the next MOOC that I will be hosting called Adventures in Self-Blended (and Self-Directed) Learning starting on August 15. All are welcome to sign up now through the end of the course. For those who are used to Coursera and EdX MOOCs, you may not know what to expect. My work tends to be, well, unconventional. I have every intention of making this MOOC a wonderfully enriching, quirky and unconventional learning experience. I tend to approach MOOCs less as courses and more like experiences that leverages the power of life in a connected world; and I am committed to making this a MOOC that helps celebrate and spark greater interest in the power of curiosity, a love of learning, human agency, and connected learning. If any of these interest you, I welcome you to sign up and help make this an experiences that amplifies the promise and possibility of self-directed learning in a digital age. While I am the course host, I aspire for this to be a course that leverages the wisdom and creativity of the community.

If you’ve participated in one of my past MOOCs (Learning Beyond Letter Grades, CheatMOOC, or Adventures in Blended Learning), you have some sense of what to expect; but I have a few new twists in mind as well. Yes, there will probably be some use of digital badges. We will leverage the power of crowd-sourced knowledge generation. There will be some suggested resources and live events with inspirational figures in the self-directed learning world. There will be challenges and resources to help you think about how to apply these ideas in your own life and learning communities. There will also be opportunity to connect and collaborate with others around the world.

What is self-blended learning? Some use it as a synonym for what they refer to as the a la carte form of blended learning where students select between face-to-face and online courses amid a larger course of study. I have been using the term differently. I am looking less at a course level, and more at the micro level. I use the phrase to represent students (or just people) taking the initiative to self-blend their learning.

This can include:

  • unschooling,
  • people in traditional schools who enhance/augment/supplement their otherwise traditional face-to-face learning by taking advantage of life in an increasingly connected world,
  • people building rich and rewarding learning experiences by mixing and matching resources, activities and communities online and offline,
  • learning in formal and informal contexts,
  • and pretty much any learning that taps into aspects of heutagogy and/or self-directed learning…usually by blending digital and physical resources.

I’m still working on the course design, and I will likely be doing so until the official start of the class. Well, that isn’t completely accurate because I treat MOOCs as dynamic communities, which means that the course will be in flux even as it is running as I and other co-learners contribute new ideas, activities, resources, and experiences.

I probably should have led with the compelling why, but in this case I’ll finish with it. Why a MOOC on self-blended learning? It is because I believe that curiosity, a love of learning, human agency, and connected learning are some of the most critical issues for our age. They are more important than testing, national standards, integrating technology, learning analytics and many other aspects of the contemporary education landscape. We read research showing that non-cognitive skills or signature strengths have a huge impact on lives of people. If we can help people discover how to own and shape their learning throughout life, then we have finally lived up to that age-old cliché about teaching a man to fish versus giving him one. The why behind this MOOC is nothing short of striving to draw as much attention as possible to the power and possibility of nurturing a generation of curious, courageous self-directed learners.

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