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Mission to Learn – Lifelong Learning Blog
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Free Net Generation Learner Course

Andreas Meiszner, who I first encountered via FLOSSCom.Net (see OER- Open Educational Resources) recently dropped me a line to let me know about a new online learning experience aimed at exploring the “Skills you need in lifelong learning knowledge and information societies.” Below I’ve included a description from the course site (which is built on the open source Joomla platform, along with other tools). The course kicks off on March 8. If you have been looking for an opportunity to explore collaborative, Web-based learning in a welcoming open source, open education environment, here it is. I hope to “see” you there.

JTC

About the course

Firstly of all, this course is free: free to attend without any charge, free of cost for books or other materials, free for anyone independently of prior education; and free in terms of your personal time commitment that you decide to dedicate to it (Though we would like you to spend on a minimum 2 hours per week). The only thing you will need is a PC and internet access.

The objective of this course is for you to become a knowledgeable ne(x)t generation learner that:

  • Is able to update his skills and knowledge self-dependently within a lifelong learning context
  • Knows how to take full advantage of the web to support your own learning, to collaborate with others and use the tools required to do so
  • Is capable to find sources at the web and to critically evaluate and analyse them
  • Is aware about available free online and desktop software solutions that facilitate learning, knowledge exchange and collaboration
  • Knows how to find online communities, to engage in them for personal support, and to and understands the way they function
  • Has the today’s required soft skills; like to communicate, collaborate and engage in discussions with others, defend your own work and thoughts and present them, know how to manage a project, or how to resolve conflicts

The course is supposed to be an open and participatory learning experience that involves practical ‘hands-on’ sessions where your learning activities and the things you create will become a part of the course. This is to say that future course participants should be enabled to benefit from your achievements and build upon the things you started, instead of starting from scratch.

The course will allow you to act not only as a learner, but to become an active contributor and co-creator. You will be asked to establish your own course learning projects or to join into course learning projects of others; and you also will have a voice to tell us what you think this course still needs.

This course is a pilot course in the light of free and open education. Participants of this course can expect tutoring (support), but will not receive any official degree awarding certificate or credit points from the course team.

Career relevance (Why should I take this course?)

Knowledge is becoming obsolete faster and faster and if you are a 4 years’ university student you might see that half of what you learned during your first year will be out of date by your third year of study.

Today’s learner are likely to have on an average 10 to 14 different jobs by the age of 38 and the top 10 in demand jobs in 2010 did not exist in 2004 – how will you prepare for this? You are preparing yourself for jobs that might not even exist yet, that demand the use of technologies that haven’t been invented in order to solve problems that you don’t know are problems yet.

Universities and formal education at large struggle to update their courses within these shorter and shorter cycles or to develop new ones, and lessons are still largely given like 100 years ago.

This is why YOU NEED TO KNOW how to take advantage of the web for YOUR PERSONAL LEARNING NEEDS to have a COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE at today’s JOB MARKET.

Some illustrating and brief sources for a better understanding on this can be found here.

For whom is this course?

The target groups of this course are:

  • Students in formal education on a individual base
  • Free learner outside of formal education on a individual base
  • Educators (Teachers) that like to participate with their students at this course and might want to feed parts of it into their own courses (and vice versa)

There is no minimum age limit, nor any minimum prior educational requirements.

Course structure

The course will be divided into two phases, a course design phase and the course itself, as illustrated below. BUT: You are not required to participate at the design phase in order to take the actual course!

During the initial course design (12/07 – 03/08) you will have the opportunity to add your topics of interest to a wish- list and to suggest activities and sources. We also encourage you to go beyond this and invite you to become an active co-creator of this course and to bring in your first hand knowledge and insights.

During the actual course phase (03/08 – 07/08) you will have the option to create your own course learning projects or to join into the projects of others. Additionally you will be able to learn from reviewing and studying the project activities, outcomes and presentations of the other course’s learning projects.

After the end of the course we will go into a re-design phase (07/08 – 09/08) and use the results of the first course to improve it before we will run an updated version.

Participants at the first round of this course are encouraged to contribute to the course re-design and are welcome to also engage at the second round of the course (09/08 – 02/09).

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About the Author Jeff Cobb

I am an avid lifelong learner who writes and speaks frequently on the critical role of learning in our fast-changing world.

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1 comment
Ellen says

Jeff — Thanks for sharing this! The course content not only sounds great, but it seems Andreas has structured the course delivery so participants are learning as they are doing — always a challenge in online training.

And the new blog looks great!

Ellen

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