An email from Lokesh Mehra started this post really. He referred us to a self learning initiative called the NoPayMBA started by Laurie Pickard. I recall another learner led initiative (Lisa Chamberlin) who started an year ago on getting an Open PhD and has an update for the first year of her efforts. Like Lisa, Laurie too provides some insights on things such as how to design a course like that. Of special interest is an initiative on P2PU called Open & Networked PhD Candidacy.
So this is a new paradigm where the learner clearly is able to do many interesting things:
- She is able to take control of what she wants to learn and define a program similar/conformant to (but not so necessarily) university programs (PhD, MBA). These could be a CCNA course or a course in English language as well.
- She could be responding to an employer who has advertised (like OnPhD) and wants potential employees to be able to demonstrate their competencies through a short online interaction and network affirmation of competencies
- She is able to leverage an entire network of peers, experts and volunteers who will help her accomplish her goals
- She is able to leverage an entire body of open resources, communities and tools to accomplish her goals
- Potentially (like if she is doing this at P2PU), she may get a formal certification from a third party (who may treat all or part of this as Recognition of Prior Learning; or if an acknowledged expert puts her stamp of approval on the student’s competency for a particular job/task/level)
- And by laying a trail (like Lisa does in her annual update), she also helps encourage, demystify and “teach” learners after her to adopt and improve her practices and her networks.
The sheer power of pushing more accountability and responsibility towards the learner is immense. IMHO it is a critical contributor to resolving the problems of scale – decentralized, disaggregated systems of learning.
A lot of discussion needs to emerge around these models. For example, people who can assess competency (experts, employers, peers) are many. If they get empowered (like with Open Badges) to credential, we have a new educational model in place. If we can un-tether (partially) the professor from the institution, for example, how would that help? If we could empower local Guilds to assess competency, how would that work?