[iDC] alternative models for education?

George Siemens gsiemens at gmail.com
Thu Jun 17 13:27:21 UTC 2010

Hi Stian,

"I still think there is a value to a small group of individuals coming
together over a limited period of time to discuss something in depth."

I don't disagree with that assertion, but a course doesn't necessarily serve
this process well. Courses have administrative (systems) and knowledge
(learning) roles. In most universities today, I'd argue that the
administrative role of courses is primary. That's why we end up with huge
lecture theatres filled with hundreds of students.

The knowledge/learning role of courses can be better served through
decentralized/distributed models, as this permits each learner to adjust and
adapt to her interests. Much like the efficient market hypothesis in
economics suggests that individuals are rational, the efficient learner
hypothesis suggests that learners more or less start at the same point and
then progress along a similar trajectory. As a unit of knowledge growth and
exchange, courses fail. But they succeed spectacularly as an administrative
and work-shaping unit.

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