makes sense. Professor and courseware designer comments…If we all have the same competencies and needs around learning, such as curiosity, social belonging, personal advancement, then we can all be part of creating the best possible learning outcome that meets those same needs. Let’s build our own education together.

In fact, having a sense of belonging improved performance in students. Belonging makes problems seem surmountable and differences shrink away. Belonging also brings relatability and imbues a sense of ‘if they can do it, so can I’.

How does something like Moodle or any other learning management system create the sense of belonging?

There has to be meaning to the education and an emotional investment. Although a subject like statistics can be boring, it works better to break it into topics that address statistics to make it relevant to the learner.¬† If the learner’s work on a project is recognized and has a real impact, they work harder.

To quote Mike Caulfield:

John Dewey knew this and talked about this. No class can be the same, he realized, because different children come in with different experiences and knowledge and skills. And since learning is really the process of connecting new experience and knowledge with old experience and knowledge, your students unique perspectives and experiences are part of the raw material from which you make the class.

A trainer also wants to be weary of ‘course exhaust’. Make the first few projects easy enough to bind the people and enjoy some success then increase complexity as you go on. By going open, we are also moving from standard to customizable curriculum. This way we can create an online course that allows students to make better use of the learning as they go. For example, if the goal is to knit a hat, every student can present and display their finished project, which will be the ‘hat’ but they will all be different from the student’s perspective.

Creativity is also needed. By allowing learners to express themselves toward the learning goal in a way that uses their talents and interests, leveraging the diversity – they are vested and engaged to deliver something meaningful and learning is enhanced.

Co-creating the learning environment. Ensure the learning allows for big ideas that bind people together in observation and thinking. Then allow the input to modify the course.

Multiple approaches to research or topics bring a complex interrelated web of thinking that dimensionalizes the subject for the benefit of learning. It is like taking thinking from 2D to 3D so you can look at different sides. Learning is after all about having an audience so why not design in a way that builds a following.

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