The second phase of the project in regards to local labour market needs and work seeker skill requirements was to create the initial phase of MOOCs, supporting activities e.g. Study Clubs and learning pathways based on the results of the initial investigation.
Drawing from evidence gathered from phase 1 of the investigation, MOOCs in the Destiny Project were to focus primarily on transversal skills and work-seekers or underemployed individuals. The nature of MOOC learning promotes encouragement of ‘dis-engaged’ or difficult target learners to reconnect with education and learning.
The topic of individual MOOCs is based on the previously conducted research on labour market needs research and takes into account local context of each university partner. MOOCs are linked to MSCs to encourage interaction between learners and teacher/trainers in order to increase efficiency of online courses for mass participation.
The idea behind MSCs was to develop a new and innovative pedagogical approach which
would be tested to identify best practices for open and flexible learning, virtual mobility and innovative learning methods thus contributing to the modernisation of Europe’s higher education systems.
Each partner developed a different model of MOOC and consequently also MOOC Study Clubs. All the models have been adapted based on the research on local labour market needs. Models
have been configured differently for each of the four experiences, depending also on partners’ infrastructure and strategy. Evaluation of the first implementation of MSC has given partners sufficient input where fine-tunings in terms of learning materials, complexity of activities, ways of and tools for interaction are needed.
The four MOOC models range from what can be characterised as classical MOOC format with video lectures and online activities (ULL and DOBA) to mobile MOOCs with combination of own and existing resources (SU) to a MOOC which resembles more of an online learning concept (TEIC). The four MSCs have shown that the desired pedagogical approach of MSCs was to complement MOOC delivery by fostering interaction between the participants and teachers/trainers/tutors and learners, towards the achievement of higher completion rates.
The nature of the interaction was different though. While SU and ULL decided to use Study Clubs more for guiding students through MOOC delivery, Study Clubs at DOBA and TEIC were part of teaching or experiential and in-depth learning.
One of the common conclusions of the first stage of the project was that weekly interactions (online or face-to-face) are considered to be most advantageous for any of the target group. The target audience was primarily internal students, in the case of TEIC the target also included Erasmus students while DOBA opened participation in MSCs also to external audience.
Although local students are easy to reach and therefore convenient for piloting, this was not the case. There seems to be a common need to reach out to a wider, more diverse target audience to test efficiency of the model. Intensive promotion through social media and other channels will be required.
Initially the language of instruction was supposed to be English across the board, including MOOCs developed by non-English speaking partners in order to attract transnational learners and foster cross-cultural exchange of experiences. However, initial research showed that local needs require local language, and therefore ULL developed their MOOC in Spanish although it has been subtitled in English.
Initial MOOC’s/MSC’s run were elaborated and upgraded according to the results and conclusions extracted during the first implementation. The results achieved in the second run were significantlybetter in comparison to the first run, both in terms of participation numbers and learners’ performance.
Phase 3 of the project will be summarised later this week.
Destiny © 2015
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