Wednesday, March 19

Personal Learning = YouTube Lectures + No Courses + Free Rice

Did you know that you can give free rice to hungry people by simply playing a cool word game? FreeRice has two goals:

  • Provide English vocabulary to everyone for free.
  • Help end world hunger by providing rice to hungry people for free (Made possible by the sponsors who advertise on the site).

While learning and stimulating your own brain, you are also helping hungry people! What a brilliant idea! Hopefully, it works!

George Siemens provides us a glimpse into a potential future world without courses, in a mind stimulating Articulate presentation.

"The function of education - in serving its stakeholders and in how it creates value - can be duplicated in a distributed manner. We're still missing the final piece of accreditation (though we're making progress on that) and we're missing the piece on how we will tie these pieces together. But, I imagine that will be on the horizon shortly. (with tying together, I don't mean tying content together - we can do that with RSS, PageFlakes, etc. I mean a conceptual tying together so we can say, "yes, Susan has achieved those learning targets"). Treat it as a conversation starter, not a declaration of belief ..." (Source)

It wasn't long ago when some learning experts were talking about a world without lectures (or even lecturers! Courseware + Artificial Intelligence = Learning). Today I watch more lectures than ever online (if I had more opportunities offline I would, too)! Whether online or offline, I simply love lectures, if they are interesting, engaging, useful, and relevant to my learning (E.g. George Siemens Articulate presentation). If you ask me to choose between a typical page-clicking courseware (eBook?) over watching a lecture, I would 99 out of 100 times choose a lecture (especially if it allows me to easily navigate and skip the boring/knowing parts). I suppose I prefer watching and listening to subject matter experts (if so!) reflecting-it-out-loud if possible (learning beyond the content)! But then again, everyone has their own preferences, which we should try to cater to one way or the other. If you can blend reading, listening, watching, presenting, sharing, playing, reflecting, individual/group activities, and creating new stuff into a course effectively, I will be inspired!

Although, I like learning whatever I want, anytime I want in an informal way, I do also like learning through courses. So, I hope and envision a world where both can co-exist effectively and that we can increasingly recognize and find ways to measure the value of informal learning (or no-course learning!) before making our judgments about a person's expertise (or competence level) in terms of knowledge, skills, experience and wisdom.

Coming to think of it, the problem might not lie with the 'course model', but how we define, deliver, assess and rigidly package courses (according to credit hours). With a bit of creativity, innovation and flexibility, we might be able to revive to true value of learning through courses! Also, wouldn't it be nice if we could have more flexibility in how we package our degrees (self-directed). We are free to choose courses according to our needs and interests (with prerequisite or warning signs if any!). In such a course learning world, I suppose Steve Jobs would have completed his degree!

Dan Coleman shares on his super smart media blog 50+ Smart Video Collections on YouTube (and growing!), which is simply an amazing collection. Although, YouTube unfortunately makes these collections difficult to find, Dan Coleman comes to the rescue!

Here are a few University YouTube Channels to keep you busy for life:

Stephen Downes is working on a new personal learning tool (soon to be launched, if I am not mistaken), and has some great ideas about what personal learning is all about.

Personal learning (in a nut shell!):
  • To teach is to MODEL and to DEMONSTRATE
  • To Learn is to PRACTICE and REFLECT

CLICK HERE to enjoy and reflect his slides :)

Besides learning, I don't have a clue! However, if you want to enjoy my learning as I discover new learning resources and tools, please take advantage and use my growing juicy collection. Currently, I am still trying to index my old super learning discoveries (No time!), and hopefully by early April, I will increasingly focus more on exploring new galaxies of resources and tools.

In the meantime, have fun feeding poor people while playing games, and please dream about a world without courses (and share your reflections with George Siemens). Also, have fun exploring 1000s of YouTube lectures! Hopefully, we can soon use Stephen Downes new personal learning tool to manage our learning more efficiently. We certainly need it now!

I suppose I will be back in a week or two with some more juicy updates from my learning adventures :)

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