MOOCs and M-Learning
Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) continue to be a popular discussion topic in higher education. Large institutions (those with over 15,000 students) are more likely to offer a MOOC than smaller institutions (Allen & Seaman, 2014). This is much different than the adoption of online learning, which started in the smaller, two-year schools. The top two objectives for offering MOOCs are to increase institution visibility and drive student recruitment (Allen & Seaman, 2014). However, institutions report that it is too early to tell if the MOOCs being offered are meeting the objectives because MOOCs are still too young. The future of MOOCs in higher education is debatable. There are many benefits of MOOCs. The MOOC learning experience uses traditional tools such as video lectures and assessments, but adds the social media and community aspect to the approach (Dias & Diniz, 2014). “Based upon connectivism and considering particular characteristics, such as diversity, autonomy, openness, self-organization, interactivity/connectivity for sharing knowledge, this approach can represent a unique opportunity to discover more about how, where, when, what and with whom people can learn in large open networks” (Diaz & Diniz, 2014, p. 316). MOOCs are a wonderful way to learn something new and for the lifelong learner. MOOCs connect likeminded individuals and can provide a network of learners. My first MOOC was a success; I joined Twitter and posted by first tweet; I learned about networking through social media.
Mobile learning (m-learning) is of high interest in the learning technologies community. M-learning provides the means and methods for demonstrating that learning can happen anywhere (Chuang, 2009). The field of m-learning is characterized by the terms mobile, spontaneous, connected, and collaborative (Solvberg & Rismark, 2012). M-learning covers a compound array of possibilities for future learning (Pavan et al, 2012). How students act and maneuver in m-learning is an important area for future research. Mobile devices have changed the way I learn. Research, communication, coursework, and even attending synchronous meetings can happen from my mobile device. Educational apps are available and many schools are integrating iPads into the classroom. These devices will soon be commonplace in schools, just like computer labs—soon replacing computer labs. The integration of m-learning into pedagogy must be at the center of this type of learning. Schools must understand instructional design best practices to integrate the tool and evaluate the available apps with an understanding of solid learner-centered design practices.
Allen, E. I. & Seaman, J. (2014). Grade change: Tracking online education in the United States. Retrieved from: http://sloanconsortium.org/publications/survey/grade-change-2013
Chuang, K.W. (2009). Mobile technologies enhance the e-learning opportunity. American Journal of Business Education 2(9), p. 49-53.
Dias, S. B. & Diniz, J. A. (2014). Towards an enhanced learning management system for blended learning in higher education incorporating distinct learners’ profiles. Education Technology & Society 17, 307-319.
Pavan, P.N.V., Santhi, H., & Jaisankar, N. (2012). A survey on m-learning. International Journal of Computer Applications 48(3), p. 17-21.
Solvberg, A.M. & Rismark, M. (2012). Learning spaces in mobile learning environments. Active Learning in Higher Education 13(1), p. 23-33. doi: 10.1177/1469787411429189