Learning Objective for FOC08, or Is It?

I have been speaking with a few of my colleagues, namely Sylvia Currie and Bronwyn Stuckey, as well as reading some of the blogs of our online class members, including Leigh Blackall (the class facilitator), Joao Alves, and Mike Bogle (whose posting inspired me to write this one), and decided I want to be a little more specific.

What learning objective shall I adopt for this course?

I spoke about this a bit with a new colleague in the class, Lynne Gilliland Garber (congrats on your first blog!), and have been thinking about refining what I initially intended for me to try to accomplish in this class. I can name this or that, such as learn more or experience something or meet people or the like, yet I am not sure that I will be in the same place at the end of December when the class ends. My interests and needs and experiences and expectations all will have changed. Learning itself often means more than developing knowledge or gathering a skill. Can the learning objective I may set today be valuable for me in five months? Will I still care about what I want today when I am in a different place then? Am I just going to be satisfied with wanting something I can envision now, without allowing for or regarding that which I do not even know exists tomorrow?

As an instructional designer, I face and create objectives every day. How else can we measure how successful a class or learning experience is? How else will we be able to establish the direction for our class, or have a glimpse of what we want to get out of the experience?

Let me pose it in a different way–how can we establish an objective and then hold ourselves to it for an experience that we have not had yet? If my objective is to learn to blog, but I walk away from the class with closer friends and colleagues, or a more expanded worldview of how we can foster global communities of practice using technologies and methods I do not yet even know exist, who cares if I learned to blog? Strict learning objectives would have me count the course a failure, as I would not have gotten what I came to get. Given my worldview from transformative learning, with a little spice of Foucault, Denzin, Brookfield, and Lyotard thrown in for good measure, I believe we need to set objectives and goals, but they can change and develop just as we do.

Back to this online course. For my objectives in this course, I want to:

  • apply methods of facilitating online communities to the online courses I am developing at NYU
  • develop my perspective of global online community of practice-based education

Let’s see how these may develop over the class itself.