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MOOC review

L.E.T. You Succeed Consulting: Reviewing MOOC's

Thank you for the opportunity to offer feedback on your MOOCs. We are excited to partner with you as you refine your online course offerings.
Group Introduction and Process:
Our group consists of Leseh, Elizabeth, and Talicia. We each bring with us a different learning strength. Using the Kolb Learning Style Inventory 4.0 (KLSI 4.0), Leseh’s style is reflective learning, Elizabeth’s style is analyzing learning, and Talicia’s style is experiencing learning. As noted, it is important to keep adult learning styles in mind when designing classes, as each style takes on learning differently.
Your feedback is divided into three sections. First, we consolidated a list identifying successes and opportunities for improvement for the two MOOCs chosen. Next, we provide overall feedback on our experience and learnings. Finally, we conclude with how each of our learning styles might have impacted our experience. The classes we chose were Leading with Effective Communication and World of Wine: From Grape to Glass. We chose these courses because we wanted one that was relevant to all three of our vastly different work situations, plus one that was fun. Also, we were careful to choose classes that provided manageable time commitments and that were self-paced, with an open start and end date.

Leading with Effective Communication (Inclusive Leadership Training)
This is a self-paced course that is part of a series on inclusive leadership. It offers communication skills and strategies that learners can apply in many contexts, both personal and professional. The discussion board is learner-led with minimal staff moderation. A verified certificate is available for a fee.
Successes:
Excellent work on developing a class that is interactive and engaging from the start! The course is well-organized and easy to navigate.
There are many different inputs offered to learners: course-provided videos, YouTube videos, infographics, and articles from other sources. This helps to establish and maintain engagement with the learner and connects with the strengths of different learning styles.
The course-provided videos are of very high quality. The presenters are clear and engaging. Videos with two presenters talking to each other are a good feature - they are more interesting than a solo lecture. All video lectures are concise and clearly connected to each topic.
The short quizzes motivate the learner to pay attention and encourage the learner to engage in reflection and application, connecting the course material to the learner’s unique situation. Similarly, the real-world examples are helpful and relevant to adults who want to learn positive ways to handle challenging situations.

Opportunity:
We see significant room for growth in the discussion boards. While it is appropriate to give learners the opportunity to engage with each other, an entirely learner-facilitated experience can be inconsistent and lacking in quality and substance. It was discouraging to post and not receive a response; posting on the discussion board and receiving a negative response would be even worse.

World of Wine: From Grape to Glass
This class focuses on wine taste and perception as well as wine production. Content includes downloadable tools, many video presentations and interviews, and suggested apps for further exploration. This is a self-paced course and offers a certification for an additional fee.
Successes:
The topic is a good one! Many folks want to learn more about the wine they drink.
The course environment is easy to navigate. The links provided for all the documents and visuals are helpful.
There is a lot of content. The course offers the opportunity to gain a detailed understanding of how wine goes from the beginning stages to the end result.
The infographics (the world map) and charts (comparing wine color) are good tools and provide needed balance to the video lectures.
Opportunities:
Find a way to make more the experience more interactive. There were at least three fairly lengthy video lectures with lots of big words and specialized terms before the learner has the opportunity to engage in an interactive activity. Offering short quizzes or other means of assessing learning would help learners engage and interact with the presentation.
Incorporate a variety of methods to deliver the content. The lectures become redundant and risk losing the attention of the learners.
Where video lecture is appropriate, we suggest that the presenters should be more engaging and less monotone. Perhaps having more than one presenter involved in a video, interacting with each other, would help to create a more interesting conversation.
Prior to the class that covers actually tasting the wine, the instructor could provide the variety or brand of wine so learners can have the opportunity to try the same or a similar type.

Overall comments on MOOCs
MOOCs offer the potential for huge benefit. The opportunity for individuals from all walks of life and all around the world to attend classes on just about any subject from some of the best universities for free is genius. Earning a certification adds value to adults seeking career advancement. That said, we were able to identify some opportunities for improvement. The overall feedback for both classes our team experienced was related to learner engagement. If there is a way to connect to and communicate with the learner directly, it might expand the feeling of connection and engagement. An example is the discussion boards. While a learner could follow their own thread on a discussion board, it was not a site to revisit once the learner posted a new thread or response, and so there was no obvious connection to other learners or a facilitator.
One other issue was fitting the courses into our already busy lives. We put ourselves in the shoes of adult learners with professional and personal commitments. Even though we chose MOOCs that added value and we thought we would enjoy, fitting them into our schedule remained a challenge. Email reminders designed to gently nudge us to participate and keep up were helpful, but even with those reminders, it was still easy to push the class aside. It was painfully clear that the MOOC would be the first activity forgotten when life gets busy. The classes become a lower priority, perhaps because there is no financial investment, personal connection, feedback or expectation. It takes a great deal of personal commitment to fully participate in the MOOC experience. In addition to offering the email reminders, perhaps create an opportunity for learners to connect with a partner to help provide support, accountability, and a greater sense of engagement. Also, we encourage learners to add the class to their calendars and establish a schedule. Another idea is for learners to enroll with a friend with whom they can share accountability and learnings. We encourage adult learners to see all that MOOCs have to offer! You will be thankful you did!

MOOCs experience and learning styles
Leseh: As a reflective learner, I like to take in the information, digest it and then come to the conclusion of my learning. I also connect the experience through reflection. In regards to the wine class, I was very frustrated. There is a ton of information thrown at the learner with little prep for what is coming up. For example, there wasn’t a heads up on when the class would start the actual tasting so I could have my wines and glass ready and go along with the teacher. In addition, since I “value the process of talking about my reflections” (KOLB assessment), my biggest challenge of MOOCs is that there is not immediate interaction or a healthy, timely back and forth with dialogue to make me happy. The main benefit was the schedule. In our classes there are no time constraints with the ones we chose, which allowed me to absorb the learning and think back on it on my own time.

Elizabeth: My dominant style is analyzing, which has a focus on abstract conceptualization. Learners with this style tend to make comparisons between new experiences and ideas and past experiences and ideas. We integrate ideas into concise models through reflection. We need time to think things through and may prefer to work alone (KLSI 4.0 assessment report).

I really enjoyed the effective communication course. It gave me an opportunity to absorb information in a variety of formats and reflect on it. I was able to make connections to prior learning and could see immediate opportunities to integrate new learning in my interactions with professional colleagues, family members, and friends. The learning feels valuable and relevant to me. I want to complete the full course.

I did not feel engaged with the wine course. This was unexpected, as my husband and I enjoy drinking and learning about wine. I thought this course would be a lot of fun and a great fit with my interests. I expected to want to pursue it. Unfortunately, the course was very repetitive with lots of videos that were monotonous and too long. The uninteresting delivery combined with the sheer quantity of information made me want to leave and never come back. With my analyzing learning style, I am capable of taking in the information and organizing it for myself and others. However, I was not enticed to do so by the delivery nor motivated to do so for a compelling professional or personal reason. This resonates for me: if learning is not meaningful and relevant, as well as engaging, the learner is unlikely to persist.

Talicia: I am an experiencing learner, being in the act of doing and thinking. Individuals with this learning style such as myself are good at solving problems, taking into account what we have learned and incorporating in the information when solving problems. I like to be involved while learning so when I took the wine class I found it rather dry and and lacking engagement. The speakers were not interactive from my perspective and lacking being hands on. This is why I found the effective communication class more interesting, the presenters were engaging and had more energy and I was able to be hands on through the different activities, this aided in me having the ability to retain the information.

Credits:
Learning styles from the Kolb Learning Style Inventory 4.0
HASTAC

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