The [Un]Democratisation of Education and Learning

Chapter
Part of the SpringerBriefs in Education book series (BRIEFSEDUCAT)

Abstract

MOOCs have engendered excitement around their potential to democratise education. They appear to act as a leveller and offer equal opportunity to millions of learners worldwide. Yet, this alluring promise is not wholly achieved by MOOCs. The courses are designed to be used by people who are already able to learn, thereby excluding learners who are unable to learn without direct tutor support. The solutions to this problem tend to focus on the course, as ‘learning design’ or ‘learning analytics’. We argue that effort needs to be focused on the learner directly, supporting him or her to become an autonomous learner. Supporting millions of people to become autonomous learners is complex and costly. This is a problem where education is shaped principally by economic and neoliberal forces, rather than social factors. However, ‘automated’ solutions may result in attempts to quantify learners’ behaviours to fit an ‘ideal’. There is a danger that overly simplified solutions aggravate and intensify inequalities of participation.

Notes

Acknowledgements

The authors wish to thank Vicky Murphy of The Open University for comments and for proofing this chapter.

References

  1. Anderson, T. (2013). Promise and/or peril: MOOCs and open and distance education. Commonwealth of learning.Google Scholar
  2. Biesta, G. (2005). Against learning. Nordic Educational Research, 25(1), 54–66.Google Scholar
  3. Biesta, G. (2009). Good education in an age of measurement: On the need to reconnect with the question of purpose in education. Education Assessment Evaluation and Accountability, 21(1), 33–46.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Boga, S., & McGreal, R. (2014). Introducing MOOCs to Africa: New economy skills for Africa program. Available from https://auspace.athabascau.ca/bitstream/handle/2149/3473/MOOCs_in_Africa_2014_Boga-McGreal-2.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y.
  5. British Council. (2014). Understanding India Report. Retrieved from: https://www.britishcouncil.org/sites/default/files/understanding_india_report.pdf.
  6. Daniel, J., Cano, E. V., & Cervera, M. G. (2015). The future of MOOCs: Adaptive learning or business model? International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education, 12(1), 64–73.Google Scholar
  7. Downes, S. (2012). Connectivism and connective knowledge: Essays on meaning and learning networks. Ottawa, ON: National Research.Google Scholar
  8. Dua, A. (2013). College for All. In Voices on society: The art and science of delivery. New York: McKinsey & Company. Retrieved from http://voices.mckinseyonsociety.com/college-for-all/.
  9. Equipping people to stay ahead of technological change. (2017, January 14). The Economist. Retrieved from https://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21714341-it-easy-say-people-need-keep-learning-throughout-their-careers-practicalities.
  10. Field, J. (2000). Lifelong learning and the new educational order. Stoke on Trent, UK: Trentham Books.Google Scholar
  11. Godwin-Jones, R. (2014). Global reach and local practice: The promise of MOOCS. Language Learning and Technology, 18(3), 5–15.Google Scholar
  12. Guàrdia, L., Maina, M., & Sangrà, A. (2013). MOOC design principles: A pedagogical approach from the learner’s perspective. eLearning Papers, (33), 1–6.Google Scholar
  13. Hanushek, E. A., Jamison, E. A., Jamison, D. T., & Woessmann, L. (2008). Education and economic growth. Education Next, 8(2), 62–70.Google Scholar
  14. Hood, N., & Littlejohn, A. (2016). Quality in MOOCs: Surveying the terrain. Burnaby, Canada: Commonwealth of Learning.Google Scholar
  15. ICEF. (2012, July 16). China and India to produce 40% of global graduates by 2020. ICEF Monitor. Retrieved from http://monitor.icef.com/2012/07/china-and-india-to-produce-40-of-global-graduates-by-2020/.
  16. Illeris, K. (Ed.). (2009). Contemporary theories of learning: learning theorists… in their own words. London, UK: Routledge.Google Scholar
  17. Illeris, K. (2014). Transformative learning and identity. Journal of Transformative Education, 12(2), 148–163.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Kellner, D. (2004). Technological transformation, multiple literacies, and the re-visioning of education. E-Learning, 1(1), 9–37.Google Scholar
  19. Kennedy, J. (2014). Characteristics of massive open online courses (MOOCs): A research review, 2009–2012. Journal of Interactive Online Learning, 13(1), 1–15.Google Scholar
  20. Knox, J. (2016). Posthumanism and the massive open online course: Contaminating the subject of global education. New York, NY: Routledge.Google Scholar
  21. Littlejohn, A., Hood, N., Milligan, C., & Mustain, P. (2016). Learning in MOOCs: Motivations and self-regulated learning in MOOCs. The Internet and Higher Education, 29, 40–48. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.iheduc.2015.12.003.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Liyanagunawardena, T. R., Adams, A. A., & Williams, S. A. (2013). MOOCs: A systematic study of the published literature 2008–2012. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 14(3), 202–227.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Lockyer, L., Heathcote, E., & Dawson, S. (2013). Informing pedagogical action: Aligning learning analytics with learning design. American Behavioral Scientist, 57(10), 1439–1459.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Margaryan, A., Bianco, M., & Littlejohn, A. (2015). Instructional quality of massive open online courses (MOOCs). Computers & Education, 80, 77–83.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Milligan, C., Margaryan, A., & Littlejohn, A. (2013). Patterns of engagement in connectivist MOOCs. Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 9 (2), 149–159. Retrieved from http://jolt.merlot.org/vol9no2/milligan_0613.htm.
  26. Olssen, M., & Peters, M. A. (2005). Neoliberalism, higher education and the knowledge economy: From the free market to knowledge capitalism. Journal of education policy, 20(3), 313–345.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Selwyn, N. (2012). Education in a digital world: Global perspectives on technology and education. New York, NY: Routledge.Google Scholar
  28. Selwyn, N. (2016). Is technology good for education. Cambridge, UK: Polity Books.Google Scholar
  29. Siemens, G. (2014). Connectivism: A learning theory for the digital age. International Journal of Instructional Technology and Distance Learning, 2(1). Retrieved from http://www.itdl.org/Journal/Jan_05/article01.htm.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Open UniversityMilton KeynesUK
  2. 2.University of AucklandAucklandNew Zealand

Personalised recommendations