In the words of Dave Cormier, “curriculum is not driven by predefined inputs from experts; it is constructed and negotiated in real time by the contributions of those engaged in the learning process”. This is how the MOOC “Learning Design for a 21st Century Curriculum” from Open University is facilitated. Watch the introductory presentation here : OLDS MOOC introduction.
The issue is highlighted at the beginning:
The crisis of current education
The current crisis of the university is intellectual. It is a crisis of purpose, focus and content, rooted in fundamental confusion about all three. As a consequence, curricula are largely separated from research, subjects are taught in disciplinary isolation, knowledge is conflated with information and is more often than not presented as static rather than dynamic. Furthermore, universities are largely reactive rather than providing clear forward-looking visions and critical perspectives. The crisis is all the more visible today, as the pace of social, intellectual and technological change inside and outside the universities is increasingly out of step. — from curriculumreform.org
So, the question about learning design follows:
Education : Craft or Design?
The difference between craft and design here, I figure, is the difference of roles of teachers and students and the relations between them. Who owns the learning? Both educators and learners need to answer the question.
What’s learning design?
This is the answer from Yishay Mor:
Teaching as a Design Science
Teachers as designers is trying to turn the learning experience from pushing into pulling, from transmissive into transformative. Learning is the art of transfer, it needs a process design with different activities : reading, watching, listening, discussing, investigating, practicing, experimenting, connecting theory to practice, collaborating, producing. And the goal will be — educational practice as a design inquiry of learning.
The Learning Design Studio
The Learning Design Studio constructed the curriculum designed in the following sequence : initiate, investigate, ideate, connect, prototype, curate, evaluate, and reflect.
Because it’s an online massive course, a course site, Google group and cloudworks, a could space organized completely by tags, are used. It seems very flexible but also kind of clueless for beginners although the concept is understandable. Actually, the course experience is more like a community instead of a traditional course, and the instructors are like community managers.
For me, I am looking forward to see more practices than theories, more real world results than academic discussions, more interdisciplinary collaboration and outcomes than concepts in the air. For now I am optimistic. (to be continued) To follow the conversation, search hasgtag #oldsmooc_w1, w2, w3…
What’s the limit of learning design? This is a question I ponder.