Wicked Problem: Post 1

I’m currently part of a small group in my grad class class that is working on solving a “Wicked Problem”. This is a problem that is difficult to solve because of it’s complexity and a lack of a clear solution(s). A wicked problem also has a great deal of interdependence in it’s structures and thus solving one aspect of it may create a new problem. The means that “solving” a wicked problem, by it’s very nature, is likely impossible.

But we had to try.

The wicked problem we took on was that of online learning and the different ways it manifests itself. It could be distance learning, MOOCs, blended learning environments, online classes offered through a university or secondary school, or automated training programs. Our goal was to come up with guidelines for anyone trying to implement a quality online learning environment. We had to consider stakeholders (students, teachers, industry, communities, institutions) and constraints (technology, availability, pedagogy, etc.). Classes that are not engaging, not pedagogically sound, isolating to the student, leave out the teacher, and don’t result in quality learning experiences are just a few of the problems that plague online learning.

Although it has many problems, online learning has great potential to change education in a positive way. We came up with policy recommendations that ideally would help ensure quality experiences for all stakeholders. (You can read our white paper here.) We focused on the “how” and “why” of online learning and tried to balance technology, content, and pedagogy in our recommendations. You can click the image below to see our Blendspace that contains an info graphic, video of our collaboration and brainstorming process, white paper, and our references.

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3 Comments

  • zzuzula Reply

    I like where you’re going with the idea of online learning. I think I got the wrong post from your blendspace. Maybe its me but I don’t think I read the correct white paper. The conclusion just said “conclusion” I had a decent amount of information from the white paper but I didn’t feel it was complete. I see how and why you plan on creating your online learning space but I didn’t feel it was very detailed in exactly how it would be done. My big question when it comes to the why is with motivation. Motivation is the key no matter what setting the educational process is taking place. If you have motivated students you can hand them a book and a worksheet and they will learn because they are motivated to learn. How does online learning change student motivation or how do you plan on using online learning to create a new kind of motivation for students. The video was very well done and so was the image but the white paper i felt was lacking. My only other question was, is this online learning a separate look at education besides regular schooling or is it included in the same school process (is it regular school OR online learning, or is it regular school AND online learning?)

  • susansmydra Reply

    I really liked that on your Blendspace you had different resources available such as some PDF’s you used, mp4 of your google hangout, infograph and your whitepaper. In you video, around the 1 minute mark, the white words/questions that come up are a little fast to read but I liked how you “told” the story of your learning process through the pop up boxes. I think your rough draft might be the whitepaper I read because I noticed there was no conclusion and where you were citing in parenthesis, it said SOURCES.

    I really liked your infograph with the variety of different displays of information but I wonder if there’s a way that the user (and maybe it’s just me) I could zoom in a little more on it rather than zooming in the whole page. Maybe you could share where your group made the infograph.

    I am still wondering why online learning is a WICKED problem. I know in your introductory paragraph you explain that NMC defines it as a WICKED problem and I think you hinted around that it is a problem but it wasn’t completely persuasive.

  • kelseyglynn Reply

    I had the same troubles with the white paper that Zak had. As it was said in the Google Hangout conversation, what role does the parent play in online learning? In my district, we had Edays where students go to school online once a quarter while teachers have PD. This year, we also made up snow days with E-Learning days. All levels did this, even the elementary school. The parents contributed to this a lot, especially with the younger students. Also, families in our district have an upper middle class status, so they are able to provide reliable internet and resources at home. In addition, they value education and will work with their son or daughter, no matter how old, to make sure they are doing their online work. What would online learning look like for a district with families that do not have reliable internet or the time to work with their children to complete or facilitate online work? How will the teacher reach these students if they do not get their work done?

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