Self-Directed Learning in Cooperative Online Networks: Faux Learning or Genuine Education?

Self-Directed Learning in Cooperative Online Networks: Faux Learning or Genuine Education?

Vanessa Camilleri (University of Malta, Malta)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 17
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-9304-1.ch014


The past decade has seen an exponential rise in online courses, platforms, modules, as well as general online networks that contribute in a general way to learning and education. The more formal structures promise certification and accreditation for short modules or extended courses. Research shows that in terms of learner engagement of those enrolled in MOOCs, either drop out, or else passively lurk without any active participation. On the other hand, other figures show that with certain thematic online forum and discussion boards, users participate more enthusiastically, often at times contributing to content which may or may not be trustworthy. The characteristics and traits of the online learner can affect the outcome of the learning trajectories and this has to be taken into consideration when designing self-directed courses. In this chapter, the authors aim to provoke some thoughts on designing self-directed learning using cooperative online networks. In the discussion, they explore possibilities of setting up alternative pathways for a more genuine approach to education.
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What Is Learning?

This question may be rhetoric and also rather subjective according to context. As we mentioned above, for some, learning is a matter of assessment – a way of maintaining control over what the learner gets out of the teachers’ delivery. The assessment can take many forms including performance assessment, cognitive assessment, and also skills assessment. Performance assessment requires a demonstration of the mastery of skills from learners by the creation of an artefact or a performance within a specific field or domain. In this context, we can see the assessment of creative writings or productions, the design and development of models, mastery in the use of specific techniques, and executions within the performance arts amongst others. In addition to this type of assessment there are the more traditional formative and summative assessment practices which include examination practices. There are many debates going on in the areas of assessment which we will not delve into at this stage, but we choose to touch upon it to highlight the argument we want to raise – within all these modes of assessment which one can be said to authenticate and validate true learning?

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