Tag Archives: education

Mass Open Online Courses (MOOCs) in 13 snapchats

Mass Open Online Courses (MOOCs) in 13 snapchats

The future of learning is changing. Now that MOOCs, Mass Open Online Courses, are almost getting main stream, I decided to take one myself. What will happen if you’re eager to learn and have unlimited choice? The FutureLearn.com platform turned me into a promotor and I want to share some insights with you to get you started too.

The presentation covers following topics:

  • What is a MOOC?
  • How does it look like?
  • How does the content look like?
  • How do you MOOC?
  • Differences with traditional / classical learning
  • Where & whenever
  • Interactivity
  • Follow-up & gamification
  • Diversity
  • Similarities with traditional / classical learning
  • MOOCs in Belgium
  • WIIFM?

Presentation on SlideShare.net

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My maiden MOOC

MOOC Introduction to Forensic Science

MOOC Introduction to Forensic Science – ToDo list for week 2

The future of learning is changing. Now that MOOCs, Mass Open Online Courses, are almost getting main stream, I decided to take one myself. What will happen if you’re eager to learn and have unlimited choice? You can find a MOOC via a directory and can sign up in a jiffy. The FutureLearn.com platform is easy and anywhere to use. A new world opens up to me.

MOOCs, Mass Open Online Courses, are the new way of learning. They provide a self-study framework in an area of interest in and you can learn on your own pace. No more obliged presence in an auditorium where you’ll fall asleep, but everything via the Internet.

I had already heard of MOOCs via a colleague of me, but somehow never took the dive to start one. When browsing social media and in the mood of new year’s resolutions, I came across some interesting free MOOCs (Essential Business MOOCs For January). Even if it was free, there was still some sort of threshold for me to start. What happens if I quit? Will I be put on the black list? Can I attend another? The same colleague assured me it wouldn’t be a problem, as about 90% of the participants quit during the MOOC. Indeed, 90%, he said, but don’t ask me (or him) for the statistics. Anyway, I decided to give it a try to see where I ended up.

MOOCs? Dime a dozen

As I’m quite late joining this trend, I was astonished by the number of MOOCs there are available. Only via the “Essential Business MOOCs for January” link I found many others, ranging in many different areas of expertise and hosted by many different colleges and universities. I decided to go for “Managing People – Engaging Your Workforce” at the University of Reading, a course for when you would take up a leadership role. Hosted on the FutureLearn.com platform. The course takes 10 weeks and requires 4 hours per week.

While browsing the directory on the FurtureLearn platform, I saw another interesting course “Introduction to Forensic Science“, a topic which looks interesting to me, but where I (except for the CSI TV-series) have no feeling whatsoever with. The course takes 10 weeks, requires 3 hours per week and I can start right away.

First experience

The FutureLearn.com platform feels refreshing and new. I’m easily registered and can immediately start my “Introduction to Forensic Science” MOOC. For the “Managing People” MOOC I have to week another week because it’s not started yet.

Week by week

The course is divided up in weeks and the weeks into small learn nuggets. These nuggets are reading material, videos, exercises, assignments, opinions, open discussions. The teachers regularly request to voice my opinion in the comment box and I’m impressed by the thousands of comments in an open discussion. To avoid a too theoretical approach on the subject, the teachers created an exercise with a crime to be solved, based on a real case. It’s that good composed that I feel like a true CSI officer solving a crime.

After the first week of the “Introduction to Forensic Science” MOOC, I must admit I’ll never look at a CSI episode in the same way again. It’s clear that fiction and non-fiction are two worlds apart.

When I complete the assignments before the end of the first week, I have to take a small test and pass without a flaw. Only 2 left to wait for week 2 with the next assignments, exciting!

Anytime, anywhere

As said earlier, we don’t need to be in a dusty auditorium somewhere, everybody learning at the pace that the professor maintains. Via the FutureLearn platform I can learn anytime, anywhere. It’s possible to read an article on my smart phone on the bus, view a video on my PC during a lunch break and go through any of the materials with my iPad on the couch. Talk about flexible…

Social media

The course encourages using social media to talk about the topic. The “Managing People” MOOC even provides guides for setting up Facebook groups, using Twitter and using Google Hangouts.

One of the open discussions for the “Introduction to Forensic Science” MOOC is hosted via Google Hangouts and directly connects me and hundreds of others to a professor in Scotland. During his explanation we can up and down vote at any point in time. No worries, if you cannot use Google Hangouts, everything is also streamed via a YouTube channel!

What’s in it for me?

After each MOOC you get a statement of participation and if you pass the exam (if any), you can get a statement of attainment. Of course the exam is taken at your home and you have full access to the Internet. And of course you have to pay for the statements. I’m not sure if I would take (pay for) such a statement, because to me the added value is more into what I learned.

I wonder if I’ll keep up for the whole 6 and 10 weeks of both MOOCs and what stays in my memory after a hard day at work. To be continued!

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The Bridge Game – Learning to live the project

The Bridge Game

The Bridge Game

Last year in September i attended an international cooperation around project management organised by the Xios Hogeschool (Belgium) and the Hogeschool Utrecht (the Netherlands). We did an interesting game about project management that is called The Bridge Game.

The Bridge Game is a game to get acquainted  with project management. The challenge is to build a Meccanno like bridge as a team effort. During the game you will learn to work project, but most of all you will learn what the pitfalls are by experiencing them yourself.

The total time needed for the game is 2 hours, but i’m convinced the game has (educational) value for the participants.

In short, i will give an overview of the game, it’s challenges and it’s learnings.

Goals of the game

  • Bridge the gap in people skills
  • Team dynamics
  • Personal leadership
  • Customer driven focus
  • Effective communication
  • People learning to work with people

Some steps in the game

You follow the steps, just like with a real project.

  • Reconnaissance phase
  • Agreeing on the project lead
  • Making the project charter and budget estimation
  • Risk estimation
  • Requesting time & materials
  • Handling budget, time, scope and quality
  • Delivery and inspection

Some real world difficulties

During the game, some unexpected real world difficulties are introduced by the game leader.

  • Power goes down
  • Team members get sick
  • The project lead is changed
  • A saboteur is introduced
  • Extra resources are added
  • Requests open for interpretation
  • Difficult interfaces to work with
  • If you assume, you make an ass of u and me

How did I become a promoter?

  • The game puts theory into practice
  • Somewhat confronting
  • After the game you get an AHA moment
  • Team work/play
  • Lessons are learned in a “save” environment
  • Reflection and sharing experiences afterwards

Usage in your company

  • Applicable for both novices and experienced project and program leads
  • Addition to the (rather theoretical) standard project management training
  • Recap exercise for project/program leads
  • Team activity in combination with HR event
  • Develop soft and job skills

Be careful! Playing the game can improve your PM skills!

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Make customer feedback leading

You don’t have to be a car factory like Toyota to use the Lean principles of continuous improvement. The Lean methodology and its techniques are applicable to various sectors.

For example, I use some of the techniques when teaching in evening school. I’m a teacher for ICT courses like “Starting with VBA”, the Ms Office packet, but also for some energy and environmental courses.

Feedback after the facts

The IT courses in most cases take three to five evening slots of 2,5 hours. So, we’re spending a lot time together. After the training course, the participants get an evaluation form and the results get to me after about a week. There are some problems with this questionnaire. To begin, the questionnaire is taken in the last 5 minutes of the last lesson. People are rushed to get home and enjoy the rest of their evening, so not much time is taken for getting into details. Also, the survey is taken after the course. So all feedback & tips that are given to me can be only processed after the course and be used for the next batch of trainees. The added value of the evaluation has no effect on the current trainees, so they know they are not going to benefit from putting in a lot of work into the evaluation.

This implies that the current customer feedback (i consider the trainees are my customers) is only lagging. Which results in quick written evaluations of shallow depth with no direct added value for the writer.

Make customer feedback leading

With the mindset of continuous improvement in my head, i decided to move the evaluation moment forward to the end of the second or third evening course (depending on the number of evenings). When the feedback is requested in the middle of the course, the trainees will see the added value and give their full participation.

Also we are not using the standard evaluation form for this survey. To get the most out ot the group we did a SWOT analysis (Strengths – Weaknesses – Opportunities – Threats). The strengths will be kept and build upon. Opportunities that match strengths can be exploited so there’s extra advantage taken from the strengths. For the weaknesses an action plan needs to be developed: you got your feedback, so what are you going to do with it? The threats should be handled like project risks and a mitigation strategy is needed to avoid hitting the wall.

Because the company needs the input in standard evaluation forms, the survey is kept and can be used as follow-up to see if the actions did have the expected result.

By letting your customer give intermediary input, you can steer together the remainder of the course into the road of success.

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