This provocative question has been posted by Tony Bates based on the recent announcement that MIT will develop a new open learning platform. It is called Open Learning Enterprise and aimed at “ interactive, pedagogically effective online learning“. It seems that MIT can further capitalize on their investments in Open Education as they have just announced MITx.
There is a slight but also important change in the wording. Whereas MITx is described as
„a portfolio of MIT courses for free to a virtual community of learners around the world. It will also enhance the educational experience of its on-campus students, offering them online tools that supplement and enrich their classroom and laboratory experiences“
Open Learning Enterprise (OLE) is associated with effective online learning. It is surely too early to come up with any empirical evidence but let’s speculate. Does this OLE restrict the online learning experiences because everything has to be „effective“? Does this deny freedom for learners because they have to choose only these subjects that can be studied „effectively“? It seems as a contradiction of the philosophy of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) with a totally independent and radically open approach. However, as has been reported here, participating in a MOOC can be quite challenging:
„But till now it has been quite ineffective. I use a lot of time reading blogs, that does not really solve my quistions. Blogs with an interesting headline, but content about something else that I expected. Blogs starting with a perfect quistion, but which never contribute to the answer. And I do get inspired about a lot of different thing – just not always what I was looking for.“
Maybe the truth, as always, lies somewhere in between.