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Where Learning Happens

August 18, 2012

Monsters with teeth by Cubby CC-BY-NC-SA

Hybrid Pedagogy‘s week-long #MOOCMOOC (a MOOC about MOOCS — Massive Open Online Courses) is finishing today. The organizers provided a plan for each day, which included readings, other resources and suggested activities. They also created a handy dashboard where we could see the stream of announcements, Twitter messages and blog posts. I contributed to a collaborative 1,000 word Google doc (“A MOOC by Any Other Name“) with 52 others, and I participated in the Twitter discussion by following the #MOOCMOOC hashtag. On Tuesday, we were asked to create a short video that responded to the question: “Where does learning happen?”. I started by writing down some thoughts, but I didn’t manage to finish a video. In the end, I thought the words (pasted below) were enough. It will take me a while to wade through the many twitter messages, blog posts and other online documents that resulted from the MOOC MOOC. Already, participants are collating and curating their thoughts and the work of others who this course enabled them to connect to. A summary of MOOCMOOC stories has already been posted. I’m looking forward to my next MOOC, which will likely be #CFHE12 (Current/Future State of Higher Education). This course will run from October 8 to November 18. Like the best (Connectivist) MOOCs, it will be Open, and it will attract open-minded people.


Where Learning Happens

It can happen out in public places

alleyways and funny spaces

underneath and in between

locations where you’ve never been



It can happen on an airplane

at 30,000 feet above the ground

you’ve found the person sitting

next to you has lived the life you

might have.


It can happen walking down the street

you meet someone you haven’t seen

in ages who tells you


before the light changes.


It can happen in mid sentence when

you interrupt the program for

a message

from one sponsor

or another.


It can happen at a party

once I met a guy who told me how

sub atomic particles romance

with partners rooms away

that made my day.


It can happen in a pub

an angel at the bar sharing whisky

while a stranger tells

a history of the world

in six glasses.


It can happen when you go to bed

and in your head you find

an alleyway at 30,000 feet

where faster than light neutrinos are

dancing the night away.


And it all makes sense.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Andrea S. Michaels permalink
    August 18, 2012 11:51 am

    Yes, yes and yes! 🙂 It’s scary how much it’s overlooked that learning does NOT happen in the classroom or training room. The other aspect that’s also pushed back into the background is that it’s not a passive process. It’s not enough just to be present.

    • Mark McGuire permalink
      August 18, 2012 12:29 pm

      Isn’t it strange that learning is what we do when we’re not sitting passively in a classroom or lecture theatre?

  2. Kristine permalink
    November 9, 2013 3:40 pm

    I very much like your “Where Learning Happens”. The idea of the ‘teachable moment’ explained poetically. Cool!

  3. Mark McGuire permalink
    November 13, 2013 5:49 am

    Thanks, Kristine!

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