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Excellent Online educ discussion, Singularity Hub(short)

An excellent discussion with good links…..J

To: sh-members

Dear Marcel,

Its a pleasure to meet you! Thanks for pointing me to your presentation. Really agree with your thinking especially “learning less and learning different things (Slides: 19, 20)”. And thank you for your kind criticism about CoLearnr. But I am afraid I am going to differ a bit here.

Firstly, I agree with your definition of learning. There should be accreditation and recognition. But why can’t the community of experts and learners do this? Why do we need a certificate of completion? And why can’t this recognition be an ongoing one instead of say getting one just after 6 weeks of effort as is the case with any MOOC course? An inspiration for me is stackoverflow.com. It started as a Q&A website for techies. The users earned points and badges based on their activity. Now it has reached a point where a stackoverflow profile is more verifiable, trustable and relevant than formal degrees from a university. An example user is Jon Skeet (http://stackoverflow.com/users/22656/jon-skeet). He works for Google and one of his key selling point for the Google job was his brilliant stackoverflow profile. There are lots of examples like Jon in the tech industry, where people get hired because of their blog or their github/quora profile. In CoLearnr, the accreditation will be from the community! It will be based on “situated learning” and we have some nice ideas around that.

Secondly, regarding your argument about any self education requiring structure and timing. The structure could come from anywhere – from the individual (if the person has a clear purpose in mind – getting a promotion/changing job), from the community (building a personalised structure collaboratively with an expert) and of course from the institution (which is where the money is). Also, why should all the learners in the world follow the same structure? Their motivation behind learning could be different. Some of them might be learning because they are passionate about the subject, others could be interested in having a paper qualification for a job and so on. Why should we stop the learners from mashing up various modules and create their own course? This is an highlight of CoLearnr. You create your own learning path ()!

Then comes the timing. Right now the courses are ran based on the timing that suits just a handful of people – professors, lecturers and assistants. On the other hand, you have 100,000 users for a MOOC. Why cant the users have an option to decide when they want to learn and for how long? When cable television industry got stuck with this fixed timing model, it opened itself up for disruption from Netflix. Netflix with its on-demand nature offers a personalised and engaging entertainment experience. I am trying to bring such an experience to learning combined with the power of social networking. For example, as you learn CoLearnr will start recommending you more topics, learnbits to learn and users to follow. I believe this is much more useful than pursuing discrete MOOC courses.

Lastly, I liked your presentation so much that I added it to our ‘Future of Learning’ topic on CoLearnr – http://www.colearnr.com/education/future-of-learning. I can also make you a collaborator for this topic which will give you this power. Any learner can become a collaborator if they demonstrate sufficient interest in a topic – through discussion etc. Thus the topics get constantly updated and grow on CoLearnr. If you think about it, when was the last time learners had any say about the contents for a course – formal or MOOC? I believe it is time to make education really centered around learners!

Best,
Prabhu

On 24 Oct 2013, at 08:27, Futurecheck (Marcel Bullinga) <info> wrote:

Dear Prabhu, I appreciate CoLeranr very much, looks great, but I would not say CoLearnr is a learning tool. It provides a fundamental part of learning (trusted information in a good interface) yes, but learning is about using and digesting that information in a structured and focused way leading to credentials and widely recognized levels of knowledge. Therefore I do not share your view on MOOC’s. I think any kind of (self)education needs structure & timing, in order to get a accredited result. See my presentation for a Dutch university on the topic: http://www.slideshare.net/futurecheck/meet-the-future-the-future-of-education
Don’t get me wrong: your initiative is great, so keep up the good works!
Kindly,
Marcel Bullinga, futurist & trendwatcher

2013/10/22 Prabhu Subramanian <prabhu>

Hi David,

Sure. Apologies for a long email.

CoLearnr was born out of my master’s thesis on online learning. We all know the importance of lifelong learning, after all that is the reason we keep following a number of blogs, twitter feeds, and even this hub! But with explosion of information and content creation, this learning has become more difficult and challenging for everyone especially for time-constrained folks. When I looked at the state of the industry, there were two categories of solution.

– MOOCers – The solution is an online course that will you tell what you have to learn in week 1, week 2. To make it worse, they will also tell you when you have to start learning, for example, after 3 months or last month (which means you have failed!). By the way, they would close the gates after the course which means you will lose your network unless you manage to talk and pick those learners you like! No wonder, they have 90% dropout rates!

– Link sharers – Pinterest, Learn.ist and few dozen more think the solution is to allow anyone to share links and attract followers. Its a kind of bottom up strategy, where you start with low quality content to build up a user base and try to improve your quality over time. While this sounds great, we know that sharing is not the same as learning. For example, the learning we might get from reading a single high quality post say from singularity hub is a lot more effective and efficient, than following lots of boards on pinterest. The articles on pinterest may come from questionable sources, the author may have no clue what he is talking about (still could have lots of followers). In fact, it will take lots of effort to identify those exact boards you need to follow on a given topic. Even when you do that, there is nothing stopping the authors from mis-using the board for some other purpose, perhaps for marketing something totally irrelevant or sharing what they had for breakfast 🙂

CoLearnr is a platform for experts and learners to learn about topics collaboratively for life. The topics have some structure but there is no fixed format. The community or the individual chooses the path they want to take and discuss/curate/construct knowledge. Happy to share some of our topic pages which are already better than wikipedia and others.

– Topic on singularity – http://www.colearnr.com/innovation/singularity
– Our entire topic on education – http://www.colearnr.com/education specifically MOOCs – http://www.colearnr.com/topic/522677f41fe5e070f6829e03/moocs

Someone here mentioned neuroscience and decoded neurofeedback. I am sure they would accumulate quite a few high quality content over the course of their research. CoLearnr would help them to present this collection in a neat fashion and attract a community. There are also tools that will help with collaboration and of course privacy controls.

I would be happy to discuss more about this in private if people are interested.

Thanks & Regards,
Prabhu

On 18 Oct 2013, at 14:18, “David J. Hill” <david.hill> wrote:

Hi Prabhu

glad to have you here. Could you tell us more about yourself and your startup? Many who are here have interest in the educational and startup space and would really like to hear more about your journey, interests, and why you started this initiative.

Thanks!
David J. Hill

Content Manager, Singularity University
Writer and Membership Coordinator, Singularity Hub

SU_Logo_Horiz_Stacked_Color.png

On Fri, Oct 18, 2013 at 8:16 AM, Prabhu Subramanian <prabhu> wrote:

Dear Hubbers,

I am the founder of an exciting collaborative learning startup in London. http://www.colearnr.com

Best,
Prabhu



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