Monday, November 7, 2011

The Brooke Fog Theory

One of my colleagues has a theory about social media, open education practices, Connectivism (learning theory for the digital age), MOOCs (Massive Online Course) and so on which he calls the Brooke Fog Theory...

....that we're all standing around in the fog talking about these things and it sounds like there are heaps of us engaging in these practices. But when the fog lifts, we realise that there are only a few of us talking and engaging in these practices and they are not half as widespread or effective as we thought...

I have been mulling this over for quite some time. I have been to a number of online meetings, conferences and courses over the last few years that have really talked up open education practices. To hear the speakers, open education, Connectivism and MOOCs are hugely influential and making big changes to the way people learn. But it seems to me that it is always the same people who attend these courses or conferences, and so I wonder just how wide spread and influential these practices really are.

These questions have been re-enforced by this stock take of these open courses, or MOOCs. The courses are mostly facilitated by the same people, based in the USA and are focused around the discipline of education. What I would like to know is...how well these practices translate into the "real world"...outside the fog?

To that end I have been thinking about how I could involve myself in the development of a MOOC for health professionals. I have had a few conversations with people about this and there seems to be a group of health professionals including doctors and occupational therapists who are interested in proceeding this concept further....an online course for health professionals designed to deal with real world issues.

I am incredibly excited about the prospect of a course that has been developed collaboratively across health professions, for participants all over the world. It could also be a suitable topic for my EdD research. But am I still propagating the interests of a select few...back in the fog again...or will a MOOC for health professional really gain some traction? Time will tell....


Image: 'Rainbow Man'
http://www.flickr.com/photos/60169539@N00/326195832

5 comments:

Lorraine Storry Mockford said...

Very cool idea Sarah. Well both actually. I think that the way to get out of he fog is to see if MOOCs arenaplicable in other areas. In the Change 11 MOOC I have been meeting new people, but there are a lot of the same people (including me). Siemens et al are refining the process, and Dave Cormier just ran a MOOC for incoming students. Perhaps you two should chat...

Helen OTUK said...

Very good point Sarah, I too will be interested to see if we can turn this into something applicable to the 'real' world. I am hopeful, but as you say time will tell. I like the 'Brooke Fog Theory' it captures something I have been thinking about. Chat soon. Every hopeful.

Sarah Stewart said...

I am not sure the medical MOOc currently being planned is going to address my concerns...I think it's going to be more of the same. However, developing a MOOC for HPs say on...reflective practice or using research in practice will really test the MOOC model. Having said that, if HPs are not great for using social media, how do they get to hear about a MOOC in the first place? And then, there's the whole issue of digital literacy....

Sarah Stewart said...

Message from David Callaghan:

Hi Sarah

I think your focus for MOOCs is interesting – and perhaps ‘focus’
is a well chosen word here. Having been part of the fog myself
(disappearing from a couple of MOOCs after joining, like many I think) I
feel that a MOOC focussed on an aspect of health, education, or whatever
may encourage better engagement. Perhaps you have stumbled upon
something new, not a MOOC, but a mini-MOOC – I wonder if someone could
come up with a better name? Focussed MOOC; Narrow; Refined?

Very kindest regards
David
Dbcallaghan.blogspot.com

Sarah Stewart said...

Hi David, have a look at what is being developed by the #mededmooc team: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ONxfS8TSpw29J2BQYkhbMxCcL9dUzj-ZNdGUrsmrTwk/edit?hl=en_US

I think the plan is for a 6 week course that looks at how to use social media in healthcare practice.