I recently had the pleasure of running my first Massive Open Online Course (OLX), that we called “Demystifying Personalized Learning.” In hopes of shining some light on the highly debated topic, the team and I at Learning Pool (formerly HT2 Labs) took it upon ourselves to curate content, generate our own materials as well interview eLearning Industry leaders to start to get an understanding of the topic at hand. We used our Social Learning Platform Stream LXP (formerly Curatr) to design, enroll and facilitate the entire course.
A month prior to creating the course I wasn’t aware of what a OLX was let alone how to create one but with plenty of help from my team, a good amount of ambition and desire to learn I was able to put together a few tips for anyone who wants to run a OLX for the first time.
Select a Wealth of Content
It’s important to go into building your OLX with more content than you really need. Ensure that you have an even balance of curated content from the web, your own internal work that you’ve already created as well as content that you have produced specifically for the OLX.
Examples of great content are:
Check your Sources
Be sure that the content you have selected comes from a legitimate source. This can either be a newspaper or academic publication, a piece of content from a highly touted company or an interview with an industry leader. However, when it comes to a OLX, we want those that are participating in the course to generate their own opinion so it may be helpful to include opinion pieces too.
Interact With Those Taking the OLX and Become a Facilitator
The most important aspect of a OLX is getting those who have chosen to enroll, interacting with the course and their peers. Not only do we want them to share their opinions but we want them to interact with others. These people invested their time in continual learning so welcoming them to the OLX with a personal reply to their introduction can go a long way.
Facilitation Part 2
Don’t be afraid to ask open ended and probing questions. You want to learn about those taking the course and why they chose to do so. In this case I wanted to know if certain people had any preconceived notions of personalized learning and what it meant to them. By asking these questions I managed to develop conversation and help lead informing discussions.
Sending “Nudge” Emails
Much like a drip email campaign it’s important to send what we call “nudge” emails to those enrolled in your course. Not only does it remind them that they are enrolled but it also serves as a way for them to enter back into the conversation. Include enticing call to actions (CTAs), excerpts that you have found interesting within the OLX, and include tips that your course takers may not have known.
“Learning is personal in that we take what we need and leave the rest. Is the actual learning event personal? No. This begs the question: does this apply to training or just “education?””
“That statement is silly. Human beings learn in spite of training not being structured or personalized. And what is missed by many of those in decision making positions is the well documented fact that structuring (including personalizing) learning can speed up the process.”
“As I stated in another post, good teachers have been personalizing learning for a long, long time for their students. Now, with technologies, we have a greater number of ways to personalize learning.”
What Did I Learn?
OLXs are for everyone. Now that is indeed a rather broad statement, but those that took Demystifying personalized learning came from all walks of life and that is what makes it exciting. They were certainly all interested in the topic at hand but you cannot define the average OLX attendee. We received a wealth of opinions from people all around the world including: personalized learning is “1v1 teaching,” “It is AI or machine learning understanding your next step and providing suggestions,” or “It is allowing you to work at your own pace and make progression when your feel ready.” The reality is, our goal was to provide a platform for people with very diverse backgrounds to come together and not necessarily come up with one concrete definition but rather take the content we provided, form an opinion and debate vigorously in hopes of accepting other definitions and then putting a form of personalized learning into place.
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