I’m just back from a week in Nairobi, Kenya, with a group of amazing practitioners doing a wide variety of community based development work across Africa. They are masters of building value chains, community based learning, rural finance and many other domains. We gathered to spend four days expanding their practice of supporting communities of practice and networks of learning online. For me, these are yet another vector for learning.
Due to the travel, I missed the first week of my Acumen sponsored MOOC (Massively Open Online Course) on Human Centered Design. I have been one of those “enroll but never do anything” people and hoped the F2F gathering group here in Seattle would pull me in. I still have my fingers crossed. It’s about vectors for learning.
So I was delighted today to be pointed to a great post on “Charlie’s Blog: To Notice and to Learn” (Hat tip Stephen Downes). Charlie shares a reflection from a humanities professor on the depth of engagement in the online discussion threads of his MOOC, “The Fiction of Relationship” (Coursera link). This line summing things up from Charlie grabbed me.
Lifelong learning is a bouquet of flowers that we must gather and arrange ourselves, and MOOCs are the stem of new type of flower, on which beautiful new petals might blossom.
The bouquet, if we follow the metaphor, is rich with possibilities. With people’s time more fractured than ever, there is a seemingly growing disbelief that we can meaningfully engage, build trust and relationships, learn, work and play — even in asynchronous discussion threads. That promise is there. It has been there for a long time. What we only need to add is our time, care and attention. WE have the vectors. Now let’s learn.