Can a MOOC transform digital learning?

  • Deakin University
  • 22 October 2018

As we start the Fourth Industrial Revolution, we are entering an era characterised by drastic changes to the way we communicate, the way we work, and the way we learn. As almost all contemporary workplaces now rely on the internet and all big-named organisations have a social media presence (via Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn), the world is becoming more digitised and connected than ever before. With more than four billion people using the internet, we now have access to services and networks at our fingertips—through smartphones, tablets and most apps imaginable—and so learners naturally expect that this accessibility will extend to education, too.

In this digital age, learners are opting to study online rather than on-campus for ‘anytime, anywhere’ learning experiences. Workplace professionals particularly benefit from these rich yet flexible learning experiences, which are easier to fit around work and lifestyle commitments. As educators and professional practitioners, we must acknowledge this shift by creating the best online experience possible in a way that reflects and celebrates current (and future) technological practises.

One of the ways that Deakin is responding to this shift in learner needs is by educating the educators. Transforming Digital Learning: Learning Design Meets Service Design is one of many massive open online courses (or MOOCs) that Deakin has developed on the innovative global platform, FutureLearn. In this free two-week course, we examine how we as digital educators can respond to changing educational needs, focussing on transformative design approaches. The Lead Educator for this MOOC, Senior Lecturer Dr Chie Adachi, says: ‘It’s one thing to develop an online course; it’s another to create a transformative digital learning experience.’ The course introduces and discusses the idea of the ‘lifelong learner’, which is a common theme in this changing world of work. Dr Adachi shared that ‘by nurturing a commitment to a life of learning and development of transferrable skills, we empower learners to adopt a mindset that helps them prepare for the uncertain future’.

Deakin was the first in the world to design and deliver full postgraduate degrees on a MOOC platform like FutureLearn. The Transforming Digital Learning course itself forms part of a single program for learners completing a full Professional Practice degree in Digital Learning. Like Transforming Digital Learning, most Deakin MOOCs are designed to act as ‘tasters’ for Deakin’s full degree courses. Essentially, you can enrol in a MOOC, a single unit of study or a full degree entirely online—all via a premium and easy-to-use platform. This is a truly exciting and transformative step to reimagining global education, and Deakin has been a leading figure in driving the frontier for digital education with this initiative.

At Deakin, we believe that digitally-enabled degree disaggregation is becoming the way of the future. More and more, learners will have the option to enrol in MOOCs, single units of study or full online degree courses for lifelong and professional learning. If you’re interested to find out more about Deakin’s approach, check out Transforming Digital Learning: Learning Design Meets Service Design, commencing Monday 5 November 2018.