Large Scale Professional Development Platforms (formerly known as MOOCs)

CIRI Blog

Published: May 10, 2015 by Michael Stephens

Our analysis of the data culled from the #hyperlibMOOC experience continues. As part of the dissemination, I was very happy to co-author an exploration of large scale learning environments with our research assistant and SJSU SoI graduate Margaret Campbell, Teacher Librarian, Twin ridges Elementary School District, Nevada County, San Jose, California, in the Spring/Summer 2015 issue of the Queen’s University Education Letter.

We explore the fact that library and Information Science professionals, faced with evolutionary transitions in research and learning, are seeking new ways to quickly expand their own knowledge and expertise. LIS professional development (PD) environments such as Learning 2.0 and 23 Mobile Things and their many global adaptations may have been precursors to the connectivist environments that are designed into the free, not-for-credit, massive open online courses (MOOCs). The name, however, may change but the concepts underlying these large scale online learning remain solid. As MOOCs find their way down into the “trough of disillusionment” of the Gartner Hype Cycle, what will rise back up may be large scale learning platforms for enhanced training, professional development, and “just in time learning.” The possibilities seem endless for bringing together groups to learn of various sizes and various locations.

Findings from our research continue to yield a positive view of the large scale learning experience, with many inspired to explore new potentials in the LIS field, especially with new technologies. Participants discovered that they can learn, reflect upon professional practices, discuss and exchange ideas with others in evolving networks and create new networks outside their individual library environments.

Our early research supports the concept that MOOCs are evolving and have the potential to attract a more diverse participant base, serve as supportive training spaces for new skills, overcome the challenges to learners posed by non-linear design, and supply the transformative environments needed for professional development in these times of dramatic social change.

Read the whole article here: http://educ.queensu.ca/sites/webpublish.queensu.ca.educwww/files/files/Community/ed_letter_spring_2015.pdf

Further Reading:

Stephens, M. & Jones, K. M. L. (2014). “MOOCs as LIS Professional Development Platforms: Evaluating and Refining SJSU’s First Not-for-Credit MOOC.” Journal of Education for Library and Information Science, 55,(4)

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