Saturday, 9 February 2013

MOOCing about.

Think I have now seen both end of the spectrum related to online learning! (MOOC Massive Open Online Courses by the way)

I started on Monday with an internal online training course - which will remain nameless to protect the innocent. This was a one hour course on one of the company business process support systems - newly implemented. I was sat at home logged onto the VPN with coffee in hand first thing in the morning (my best time) ready to be educated (my best skill). I fired up the training pack and then spent an hour trying not to eat my face. It was the most uninspiring hour I have probably ever had - an exaggeration I must have blocked the others out. The worst thing was I had to run the video's to their conclusion - monitored you see. What was so wrong with it? Well it turned out essentially to be an hour of how to fill out forms, "this is where your name goes", type of thing. There was a bit on which order to fill them out in which was mildly relevant but on balance not worth an hour of time - could have had another form that you filled out to show the order you need to fill out the other forms, if you know what I mean! On top of that when you actually get round to using these forms in real life they need to be printed out and filled in - using a pen - shock horror! 

This was an online 'course' that should have just been an instruction pack. It wasn't for the lack of polish when it came to the presentation side of things either. There had obviously been a lot of effort put into recording the course and in making it available. 

Having been the first online course I have ever logged onto it has kind of left me with a feeling of trepidation with respect to online training. 


I was saved by the Santa Fe institute - thank you, thank you!

In my re-entry into all things computing I thought I needed to get re-skilled on where current thinking is on complex system dynamics. Big data, knowledge management, social networks blah blah - what is the thinking on modelling these types of systems. So I signed up for the 'Introduction to Complexity' course (even though I think I am living through complexity so may not need the introduction ;). 

Follow the link for details

The course is run by Melanie Mitchell - I have only done the first few modules but it is light years head of the form filling course - mainly because the content has clearly been well thought through. Getting the level of detail right, on what is a difficult subject, in a simple manner, is a skill in itself. I have now sat through an hour of this training and it has felt like 5 minutes - the power of engagement! 

As a result of my first encounter, however, I still have this niggling worry that future modules are going to turn into some trivial "complex systems are complex" format, but I doubt it!

So what does all this mean? 

Well I guess you can whack out YouTube video's to your hearts content but when it comes to online training - Delivery is important but Content is King!

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