What Could An 'OOC For Transformation' Look Like?

May 27, 2015

You've probably heard of MOOC -- Massive Open Online Course.  Below is a recent emergence around leveraging and evolving some of those ideas, in the direction of ServiceSpace values.

In the early days of online learning, Salman Khan famously posted video tutorials for his nephew online, and it rippled into millions of people internationally (even Bill Gates became a fan). That was supplemental learning, though, and the next generation solutions went broader with online learning platforms, a la MOOC. ServiceSpace has been a part of several of them, including the first Happiness Course via UC Berkeley that ultimately had 100 thousand participants (one of biggest ever).

MOOC platforms (like Coursera, EdX) work like this: educators create videos of their weekly courses, add curriculum and upload it to the platform. Students sign up online (sometimes for a fee, sometimes for school credit, sometimes for free), and have basic collaboration tools to engage with the curriculum, with the teachers, and with each other.

Here's the rub -- only 4% actually complete a course. Many are experimenting with deepening that engagement, although hardly any are approaching it from a lens of transformation (see: Education and Presence of the Unknown).

On the ServiceSpace end, we have identified "Learning" as a big part of our engagement spectrum. For last several summers, we've held internships with youth (which also rippled into Awakin Calls), that ended up building lasting relationships. More recently, we piloted a "Laddership Circle" with change-makers in early 2015, and this summer, since we've got 24 applicants for 8 spots, we're doing two Laddership Circles, with a team of 8 mentors/coordinators. We are seeing a big need for this kind of a learning space, around our values.

Otto Scharmer recently held a MOOC and learned a lot. (Most of you may know Otto at MIT, who shows SSp design video to all this classes). 28 thousand people from 190 countries joined in, so he experimented with small groups formations -- and 350 self-organized groups emerged. As he reflected, he noticed that MOOC 1.0 was "one educator, many learners"; 2.0 was "one educator, one learner" (specialization); 3.0 was "many educators, many learners" (peer to peer). However, he identifies MOOC 4.0 -- "many educators, one learner" -- where learning comes from the "social field". As we transition from lecture (1.0) to discussion (2.0) to dialogue (3.0), the 4.0 is the field of collective creativity.

This insight of the "social field" is very native to ServiceSpace. All Awakin Circles, for example, are rooted in this principle. Something happens in the collective that surfaces value which is greater than the sum of the parts -- and we've repeatedly seen this through thousands of such circles. While ServiceSpace's various learning initiatives arrive at this from bottom-up point of view, Otto was coming to a similar conclusion from his top-down view (as MIT lecturer, via an experiment with one-to-many MOOC).

What, then, would a online MOOC 4.0 platform look like that cultivates learning from the social field? To start with, we'd remove the M for massive and just call it an OOC. :)

A great top-down contribution would be creating (video) content -- that leads with inner transformation and be reside non-commercially in the data commons. For instance, what would Nisha say about farming, or what would John Fullerton say about reimagining capital, what would Preeta say about law, what would Pancho say about activism, what would Sri say about medicine, what would Jacob say about money, what would Pavi say about poetry, what would Richard say about art? And so on, even with leading industry experts who are ignited similarly.

A great bottom-up contribution would be learning how to hold space. In-person Awakin Circles, virtual Laddership Circles, audio-only Awakin Calls, online 21-Day Challenge, and the list goes on. This capacity is the antecedent for creating the social field.

Bringing both of those together, our OOC platform would allow a host to create a curriculum based on the amply available videos, and then invite their small groups to engage in a 10-week learning journey. Overall, it's a bit like a distributed MOOC, or an enhanced 21-day challenge, for transformation driven content. Here's a typical use-case: Intention: Host wants to go learning journey that honors inner transformation as a design principle.
Create course: Host goes "shopping" for content to mix-and-match from various transformation-led videos on different topics (economy, happiness, law, farming, etc.) -- and creates a course. Each course is automatically paired up with a curriculum and practices.

Invite Others: from your relevant community (at work, at school, at church, with friends, etc.) It could be self-paced/solo also.

Start course: we would provide tools for "hands, head, and heart" that encourage content sharing and also transformative circles (online and offline).

Complete course: because all of this will be aligned with our three principles, all interested participants would have access to the entire ServiceSpace ecosystem for continuing the engagement and/or creating a new project on the spectrum and further cultivating the commons.

Originally, we had nicknamed this "Giversity", but we don't have the domain name -- so we're been working with "Laddership" currently. Would welcome your thoughts on this emergence.     

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