Improve online education with offline facilities

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Coursera’s new idea to improve online classroom without walls – learning hubs with wall. This summer Coursera will launch learning hubs in some public libraries in New York city. ‘Students will watch lectures on their own and then the library will provide classrooms for people who want to discuss the lectures in a group. The library will also hire a “facilitator,” to help teach the class. ‘

Group danceIn China, Coursera  leverages Guokr’s MOOC academy to launch offline learning activities by gathering learners taking the same course.

Last year the offline activities were still initiated by students themselves on a third party platform – meetup.com. This year Coursera moved a step further to provide space and support to facilitate learning experience beyond online space.

I have attended a few community-based learning activities since I got back to Shanghai. Subjects varied so did my experience.

The small group learning (about 5-6 people) took place in someone’s apartment. We usually sit together for dinner, watch the learning videos and exchange our interpretations after. This requires some decent preparation, a strong facilitator who understands the subject matter VERY well and who knows how to lead a smooth flow of discussion.

Another activity was of much larger scale with around 50 attendants. Despite good design of the learning format, I was disappointed by the instructor/facilitator. I felt he lacks certain depth in life to coach people so I left it earlier.

It is NOT easy to facilitate learning for adult learners. Even harder to make money out of it.

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One thought on “Improve online education with offline facilities

  1. Sian

    Minji – great piece and very intresting to hear about the library meetings. Is this the next step for MOOCs – making them more sociable. Or Maybe it means that many people find solo studying too difficult/lonely and need the social interaction that bricks and mortar offer? Thanks for the link. Sian

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