While finishing the search on possible MOOCs, it became obvious that in many MOOCs – intended or non intended is no proper interaction amongst participants and therefore a lack of community building/ a missing online learners community.
But is it important to build an online community amongst learners? Following discussion on twitter with @Eva07686348, @erin11k and @DavidYeats3 it is certainly ok to accept different learning styles and types.
But still we are in the century of intensive digital communication and interaction. As a trainers or course designer my general interest is to create as much interaction as possible by all means necessary.
A livid learners community is helpful for learning and active interaction with course content, even though I have to accept that there are different types of learners.
Instructors should strive to use strategies that provide the best match between curriculum content and outcomes as well as students’ past experiences, learning styles, and learning preferences. (Jason Alley and Karen Greenhaus (2007, page 21)
The web is full on strategies on how to improve your instructional design, improve interaction, turn lurkers into contributers.
Based on the assumption that for most participant even a generally low interaction with others is helpful, course designers should have the interest to know who is observing, learning and participating in “silence” and who is just enrolled without interest in achieving course objectives.
How could I find out? As course designer and can follow to some extend the behaviour of enrolled students but still how to distinguish? Yes, I could check the number of enrolled students, check who takes part in discussions and finally monitor, those who do the set assignments (if there are).
So even if I can’t distinguish them at least I should be able to motivate as many participants as possible and ‘lure’ them into participation in by design of the course as it was very well described by Jason Alley and Karen Greenhaus
The strategy on how to bring as much participants to discuss and engage is very much connected to the general question on how to build relationships and communities without having the face to face interaction.
I came across some articles on how to transfer human face to face interactions into digital communication and engagement.
I will further explore these scenarios in my micro – ethnography.
Jason Alley and Karen Greenhaus (2007): Turning Lurkers into Learners, ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education),