MOOC’s and Self-Directed Learning

October 22nd, 2015

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By Amber Dailey-Hebert 

I was extremely honored and excited to serve as a facilitator for Maastricht University’s first PBL MOOC.  As a practitioner and researcher of eLearning, this opportunity represented a new innovation in MOOC’s through the application of team-based work using the PBL model.  It also represented an opportunity to learn more about self-directed learning and virtual team learning on a global scale.  In the first week, we had over 2800 participants from around the globe.

I saw posts from individuals in India, Brazil, Mexico, United States, South Korea, New Zealand, Audi Arabia, Madagascar, Kazakhstan, and throughout multiple locations in Europe and elsewhere.  The connection of individuals, who were all genuinely interested in learning about PBL, was energizing.  What I’ve been most impressed by has been the ability of individuals to create and recruit teams based on overlapping interests, to solve communication challenges of time zones and varying levels of expertise, and to see the ways in which peer learning occurs in the absence of the ‘traditional instructor’.  While there is much debate on the effectiveness of learning in MOOC’s, the engagement that I see using this format holds promise.  And as is with everything in life, you get out of the experience what you put into it.  The information, content, and design has been expertly crafted for this MOOC – and now it is up to the participants to see where they wish to take this learning for themselves and their teams.  I look forward to seeing the result of their journey in the weeks to come…..

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