People keep coming back to the MOOC Open Networked Learning (ONL). Last spring when I was a learner it was called ONL161. And in the fall I was asked to act as co-facilitator in ONL162 for the problem-based learning group number 4 (PBL4), now I am co-facilitator for PBL8 in ONL171. The creators of ONL must love abbreviations, but they also seem to be driven by the idea of ever learning, loving to learn if you will. Perhaps it is something unique for MOOC:s, or maybe it is only true for ONL.
It was Maddy’s and Annica’s posts that got me thinking about why some of us keep coming back. They have joined the course as open learners which mean they won’t take part in the PBL groups, but they are interacting with all of the participants in Google+, Twitter and in webinars in Adobe Connect. Last time around I wrote about connectivism, the learning perspective adopted by the ONL team. I think it explains why you never feel quite done with ONL. It is driven by the participants, it is all about the networking and you can learn a lot from a hundred people! Annica concluded wisely that without ONL you actually feel a bit lonely because there are few networks like these in our everyday lives.
Everytime there is a new tool I have never heard of. There are ways to solve the scenarios that I didn’t think of. I can read blog posts or articles, listen to webinars whenever I like. I can interact with people I most certainly would never have met otherwise.
It was ONL, and Alastair Creelman, who got me to understand what an amazing learning tool Twitter can be. I can’t wait to take part in another ONL tweet chat! I started using it with my students (#didaktik1), and it meant interactive lectures and seminars where the students could collaborate, ask questions, reflect on the content and share teaching ideas. Most importantly, they have to manage the flow of information. They need to get used to that as primary school teachers who in turn should prepare their students for the virtual world children are a part of at a young age.
ONL can take you in new directions. You never know when you’ll need that knowledge you learnt through this intriguing network. This is perhaps the future for distance learning. In a world where information and software change quickly you need a strong network of people that you can rely on, as well as learn from and with. So, let this new learning journey begin!