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The Power of Lectures and Learning Designs

Lisa and I were born curious and remain curious.  The internet helps satisfy our inquisitiveness through RSS feeds to blogs; podcasts; videos on TED Talks, YouTube, and Vimeo; MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) and group discussions and research projects with colleagues online.  And as learning concierges at the Studio, we are doing work not even imagined as a career a decade ago.  So we must be self-directed, DIY (Do-It-Yourself) learners to keep growing our knowledge and skills to provide value to groups and individuals.

We are continually refining our digital literacy skills and teaching/learning designs to foster adult learning.  That’s why headings such as “Lecture Me. Really.” that appeared on October 18 in the New York Times grab our attention.

University lecture hall from nikolayhg at Pixabay, http://bit.ly/1PELhpv

University lecture hall from nikolayhg at Pixabay, http://bit.ly/1PELhpv

I admit to knee-jerk stereotypes about classroom lectures when asked what I think about them. To me, they are largely compulsory, passive, time-in-seat ventures Read more

Entrepreneurs Find Super-Powers Learning Online

Entrepreneurs  are natural wayfinders.  They puzzle through mazes to emerge with new answers to old problems and pursue their dreams of achieving impact wherever they are.  They might be in a job, self-employed, working in their own or someone else’s business, or volunteering to expertly serve their communities.

We like to believe that entrepreneurs possess Superman-like speed, vision, strength, and ability to keep getting back up when knocked down by forces (or fears?) that keep many of us doing the same-old thing far too long.

Entrepreneurial super-powers might be debatable, but one thing isn’t.  In this digitally networked era, the most successful wayfinders will connect to ideas and people on the internet to learn; find their way; apply learning; and draw maps for others to follow. Net-savvy entrepreneurs recognize that working must involve learning in order to improve performance and succeed in the long-term. And they realize that most learning opportunities online are free.

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Directory

ALISON

From its website

ALISON* is the world’s leading free online learning resource for basic and essential workplace skills. … Through the ALISON learning platform we can assist people around the world in educating themselves, thereby creating a more equitable and sustainable global society.

We believe that all certifiable or standards-based learning for every subject can be made available for free online. We also believe that Article 26 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states “Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free…” will, through ALISON, become a reality.

* ALISON stands for “Advance Learning Interactive Systems Online”.

Summary

ALISON started in 2007 in the UK.  Information Week reportedly called it “the original MOOC.”  (MOOC–Massive Open Online Course)

It offers courses in major groupings including Business and Enterprise Skills; Financial and Economic Literacy; Health Literacy; Digital Literacy and IT Skills; Personal Development and Soft Skills; as well as Language and Diploma courses.  The courses are FREE (but larded with advertisements and time for them to load and clear before you can get to your learning).

After completing the registration, I (Doris) completed an introductory module on Adobe Connect, the same-time meeting application.  It took 40 minutes to complete the module and do the assessment.   The video lecture, offered by a teacher in Great Britain with his own online teaching studio, was clear but might have been better if he had had participants in the room to interact with.  The follow-up assessment was a standard read the question, click on the answer, with immediate feedback on right/incorrect choices.  There could be variations on course teaching methods because there are many different instructors and topics.

ALISON can be used to introduce you to topics via the short modules.  If you like them and are learning, then you could continue with ALISON offerings or one of the many fee-based training/learning options advertised on the same page with ALISON course material.  Do check to see when the ALISON course was launched because it may be outdated.  Second, the advertising distractions mentioned earlier, can be eliminated entirely for a 50Euro annual subscription or reduced to popups between modules for 15Euros a year.    But I would only pay the subscription if I were absolutely sure that ALISON would give me exactly what I wanted.  Why pay a fee when there are many heavy-weight university-based MOOCs that  are free of cost and advertising from the get-go?

Open Culture

From its website

Open Culture brings together high-quality cultural & educational media for the worldwide lifelong learning community. Web 2.0 has given us great amounts of intelligent audio and video. It’s all free. It’s all enriching. But it’s also scattered across the web, and not easy to find. Our whole mission is to centralize this content, curate it, and give you access to this high quality content whenever and wherever you want it. Free audio books, free online courses, free movies, free language lessons, free ebooks and other enriching content — it’s all here. Open Culture was founded in 2006.

Dan Colman, the lead editor, is the Director & Associate Dean of Stanford’s Continuing Studies Program. He previously served as the Managing Director of AllLearn, an e-learning consortium owned by Stanford, Oxford and Yale.

Summary

This site offers entree to over 650 FREE courses online from major universities such as Stanford, Penn State, University of Michigan, UC Berkley, Harvard, and Oxford.  Many of these are “evergreen” courses, meaning that one can start them at any time.  The site also lists 200 FREE online courses (Massive Open Online Courses-MOOCs) that start throughout the year.  Most MOOCs offer “certificates” or “statements of completion,” though typically not university credit.  If you wish to take these as credit classes, you would need to check with your partnering institution.

Open Culture does not build or create the courses.  Instead, “the site highlights MOOCs and online courses created by other educational ventures.” The website also identifies free language lessons, K-12 teaching resources, free online movies, Harvard classics, and life changing books that one can obtain online.  It even lists a philosophy course delivered via Twitter!  Class categories are from A (Archaeology, Architecture, Art and Art History) to P (Psychology and Public Health) to T (Theater and Twitter) to Uncategorized (a grab bag of learning options).

 

 

Academic Earth

From its Website

A world-class education at your fingertips.

Academic Earth aims to provide everyone with the opportunity to earn a world-class education by offering free online classes and online learning tools. Whether you’re looking to advance your career or take classes that interest you, Academic Earth can connect you to the world’s top universities and scholars.

Summary

This is a repository of FREE university courses and lectures that have been made available online.  (Did we say free yet?)  If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to sit in on a lecture at a prestigious university, this site offers a window into classrooms at UC Berkeley, Stanford, MIT, Carnegie Mellon, Yale, and more.  The university level content is wide ranging such as business, mathematics, engineering, science, humanities, social sciences, art and design, and test preparation for ACT, SAT, GRE, and LSAT, etc.

The top ranked courses include an introduction to Computer Science and Programming, Introduction to Ancient Greek History and Physics II:  Electricity and Magnetism.  Academic Earth also offers “playlists” that take you to short-term lecture series on You Are What You Eat (3 lectures), The Nature of Evil (6 lectures), Love is in the Air (6  lectures) and Living a Good Life (3 lectures).