Digital learning with the Geneva Learning Foundation

Beyond MOOCs: the democratization of digital learning

Reda SadkiEvents

It is with some trepidation that I announce the Geneva Learning Foundation’s first open access digital course in partnership with the University of Illinois College of Education and Learning Strategies International.

The mission of the brand-new Geneva Learning Foundation is to connect learning leaders to research, invent, and trial breakthrough approaches for new learning, talent and leadership as a way of shaping humanity and society for the better.

This open access, four-week (16 hours total) online course will start on 4 July 2016 and end on the 29th. It will be taught by Bill CopeCatherine Russ, and myself, three of the eleven charter members of the Foundation.

We’ll be using Scholar to teach the latest digital learning pedagogies. Everyone will develop, peer review, and revise an outline for a course relevant to their own context of work. This outline is intended to be the practical basis for developing and offering an actual course – so this is no academic exercise.

The course is tightly aligned by this mission, both theoretically and practically:

  • Theoretically, learning – like almost everything else – is being remade by digital. Learning in a knowledge society is a key process to change, hence the urgency and centrality of thinking through what digital transformation means with respect to knowledge and learning.
  • Practically, it will convene learning professionals who will collaborate to develop new ways of teaching and learning

You will notice that there is no reference specifically to the humanitarian context in the course announcement. I hope that participants will come from many different industries, and that all stand to benefit by new learning approaches we have developed on the edge of chaos.

Please do share the course announcement with trusted colleagues and networks. And, if you are free in July, don’t miss it. I am betting that this first run will gather an eclectic group of learning mavericks and at least a few of those whom Cath calls edge-walkers, not just fellow humanitarians but folks from other industries operating in the same, increasingly-complex world.

So why claim that this is “beyond MOOCs”? I do not mean to imply that this course is somehow a successor to massive open online courses (MOOCs). Rather, I have written elsewhere about how MOOCs remain mostly about the transmission of knowledge. This course is about learners as active knowledge producers. I believe this is an important distinction. (Seb Schmoller argues that strong learning design can organize a beautiful, effective learning journey in just about any architecture. This, to me, is akin to saying that even a car can be made to fly – you just need to strap on some wings…)

There is an equally important distinction when defining what we mean by the democratization of learning: is this about scale (more learners with access to education)? Or is it about a paradigm change in what learners get to do: learning anywhere and any time by actively designing meanings and making knowledge they can use, thinking about thinking (metacognition), giving each other recursive feedback as they collaborate to solve problems… in other words, being teachers in a Digital Age?

Click this big red button to learn more…