For the past eight weeks or so, I have been participating in DLMOOC, an opportunity to explore Deeper Learning with many others similarly interested (and, yes, partially explaining – also had a total hip replacement – the lack of new posts from me). It has been an incredible experience, grounded in the CONSIDERATIONS approach that I have offered and will continue to offer in this blog.
One of our final “assignments” was to reflect on our experiences. What follows below is my submission.
Deeper Learning & DLMOOC
Deeper Learning has always been important to me. My long-standing thesis is as follows: Effective learning (learning for longterm retention and is of application) is best facilitated when that learning is considered a problem to be solved. To me, this approach to learning thus includes: (1) clearly understanding the topics included and their importance; (2) accepting that there are hurdles and false starts to be overcome in these efforts; (3) there will be ongoing assessment of progress made / directions taken in organizing and understanding the material identified; (4) crucial dedicated efforts to understand the application of this material by others to real world situations AND the personal application of my understanding to other real world situations; and (5) the ongoing reflection, refinement, and documentation of both the understanding and the application of this material – for my personal use and potentially that of others. (Do you detect my personal OSCAR – Objective, Speed-bumps, Considerations, Answers, Reflections – problem solving procedure in this list?)
And I have been excited by this personal joy of deeper learning “because it’s important to me” as well as from the similar joy in others – friends, colleagues, and students. One former student that stands out in this regard is “Andy.” Andy was not only in my classes, he was also my advisee. I always looked forward to his frequent visits to my office – I rarely knew the agenda … “Dr.B, I was just at the dentist; while waiting, I was reading about the solar wind. I’ve got to learn more; are there courses or can you and I work on this together?” And we did … Andy would have been a great engineer; but his career goals evolved into education – including HS science with a determination to add a philosophy course to the electives (because he believes educated people should consider philosophy).
This DLMOOC opportunity has helped me refine my understanding of the importance of Deeper Learning to rewarding careers and personal lives – FOR EVERYONE!!! Will everyone make the effort? Sadly no, but that doesn’t reduce my commitment to help facilitate the efforts of those that buy into that importance. These DLMOOC activities have increased my desire for and capabilities to both encourage serious deeper learning and facilitate the skills enabling it to happen. AND the best part is that I’m promoting such an exciting opportunity (not selling snake oil)!!!
Being older than dirt (so old that when I was young, dirt was clear – not dirty yet), my opportunities are limited. Yes, I’ll continue my personal scholarship of deeper learning, PBL, team dynamics, … Yes, I’ll continue my CONSIDERATIONS blog (http://johncbennettjr.com ). Yes, I’ll seek opportunities to work with learners of all ages face-to-face, limited though they might be. Yes, I’ll continue to explore opportunities to engage in MOOCs similar to DLMOOC – most likely presently being some sort of professional development. Yes, I’ll continue my most recent passion, play and tinkering in effective learning, with e-colleagues such as Aaron Maurer met through DLMOOC. Yes, …
Oh, and yes, one more commitment: I am keenly aware of my advantages being emeritus faculty in enabling my broad participation in DLMOOC. I am determined to work with others to broaden the time available to teachers as well as other individuals for precisely the personal and interactive efforts promoted by DLMOOC events.
BOTTOM LINE: It is impossible for me to over-exaggerate the improved understanding of Deeper Learning and its importance to meaningful careers AND personal lives – my own and others’ – that comes from my participation. Thanks to all that made it possible.