Let’s talk about the future of education: MOOCs, Globalisation, Learning Design, and Big Data

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We’ve heard it before: On the cusp of the 4th Industrial Revolution, EdTech is the answer to the growing educational needs of the world.

That’s a convenient band-aid, but the question still remains: how do we use technology for learning on a global scale, without putting it at the cost of quality?

The good news is that we don’t have to answer this question alone.

This November, the OpenLearning Conference will bring together thought leaders in the fields of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), learning design and education for a discussion orbiting four key themes with a series of insightful keynotes, workshops and networking sessions. 

With so much planned during the two-day conference, I thought I’d write a quick update on what to expect for those who have registered for #OLConf2018.

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) in a Global Context

Our first theme touches on the delivery of effective MOOCs around the world, in the context of different countries, economies and societies.

Speaker Announcements Tristan_Tristan
I’m looking forward to hearing from our keynote speaker, Dr. Tristan McCowan on the state of access, quality, innovation and impact in higher education, particularly in Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa.

Abstract submissions have been very encouraging in this respect, with submitted research spanning the Maldives, Bangladesh, the Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia and Australia.

Creating Effective Social Learning Experiences

Our second theme encourages researchers to look more closely at the social dynamics that can be fostered within courses to create a more learner-centred experience.

Speaker Announcements_Lina
Associate Prof. Dr. Lina Markauskaite will be leading us through cutting-edge research into active knowledge co-construction in the field of learning sciences.
Shirley Alexander_Extra 2
Professor Shirley Alexander will address how earlier MOOC development has simply automated existing face-to-face classroom practices, and what we can do now to define best practices for learning design moving forward.

This is a topic that our Learning Services team is concerned with on a daily basis, so it will be interesting to hear from a wealth of other experienced educators and researchers and add to the discussion around social learning pedagogy.

Next-generation Social Technologies and Analysis

The third theme examines how next-generation technologies such as social platforms, interactive devices, cloud computing, big data analytics, and machine learning systems may shape teaching practices which encourage effective social learning interactions.

Speaker Announcements_David
Our very own Chief Technology Officer, David Collien, will speak about what we do at OpenLearning to bring learning experiences to life.

Within the Edtech industry, we often talk about “digital natives” (those who have grown up with the disruptive technology that we rely on today) and how to engage them in learning. The conference will be a great platform for us to engage in a constructive discussion on the impact of these innovations in education, and to form communities of practice around them.

Social Learning: Industry and Employability

Our fourth theme investigates the future of work and the role of social learning methodologies in the workplace. We believe that effective learning design on a global scale is crucial to the formation of an adaptable workforce — one which is able to learn new skills in a fast-moving technological landscape.

It is perhaps a reflection of Industry 4.0 that we have received several research abstracts exploring digital applications in professional training, whether that’s in dentistry, teacher training, or even cybersecurity.

All in all, I’m excited that the conference is shaping up to cover a broad range of topics related to educators, researchers, industry leaders and even social enterprises. To learn more about the speakers, topics, programme and registration, visit www.conference.openlearning.com or email us at conference@openlearning.com.


Can’t make it to the conference? You can still be a part of the conversation by joining the OpenLearning Conference Course (for an example of what to expect, check out last year’s course) and our social media channels: Facebook / Twitter / Instagram. Let us know in the comments section what you would like to see at this year’s event!

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