So, fresh from completing my first MOOC, I am going to follow it up with what may just be the grandaddy of connectivist MOOCS – #rhizo15 starts this week. The course leader, Dave Cormier, needs no introduction to the more idealistic edtech types. It was Cormier and his colleagues who coined the term “MOOC” and developed the original concept (NOT Sebastian Thrun, who has been given the credit in several presentations I have seen). I am particularly impressed by this video on embracing uncertainty, which I have viewed several times and also used in my teaching:
Cormier’s idea is based on the Cynefin framework, which was developed for business, and the need for education to take account of uncertainty is extremely relevant to my own field of management education. Managers, I suspect, have always acted under conditions of uncertainty, but the uncertainty levels are now increasingly exponentially due to technology, social change, political shifts and so on. And yet we still often teach frameworks, concepts and tools with an air of “this is the truth about management”. As most thoughtful managers eventually realise, the frameworks, concepts and tools may be useful to you in a given situation, or they may not. What works in one context may or may not work in another. Good management, more often than not, is about having the judgement and intuition to decide which tools to use and whether they are working or not.
This is not always a popular message, however. Many students are looking for “answers”, and it is very attractive to us as educators to be the experts who can provide those answers. How do we show that truth is really more complex than that, and that our job as educators is to help them develop into people who can manage their own learning in a way that works for them? More challenging still, how to we do this in an educational system which tends to focus on knowledge content and somewhat blunt assessment tools? I do not expect answers, of course, but I am hoping for some ideas, stimulation and discoveries that will help. Then again, maybe I will learn something completely unexpected….