1 University of Salerno (ITALY)
2 University of Rome "Tor Vergata" (ITALY)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN18 Proceedings
Publication year: 2018
Pages: 3933-3939
ISBN: 978-84-09-02709-5
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2018.1001
Conference name: 10th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 2-4 July, 2018
Location: Palma, Spain
The distance learning has spread following the international debate on the change of the education in sight of the flexibility, attractiveness and competitiveness. The OECD (2007) confirms the importance of the Open Educational Resources (OER) in the formative process and through the introduction of the Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) the open education is stated in the universities and in the adult education. In these courses, the open learning runs along two directives: massification and personalization. The first refers to the possibility of learning without space-time limits or constraints with respect to the number of participants. The second one regulates the educational paths on the users' needs in view of the lifelong learning. Thus, a didactic approach is outlined, with actors, rules, contexts, well-defined means that implement the formative opportunities deriving from teaching activities in presence.

The paper aims to describe the epistemology underlying the main types of MOOCs (connectivist, behavioral or integrated) and the affirmation of new teaching/learning methodologies. The intent is to analyze the effectiveness that MOOCs have in the distance learning paths intended for adult education not only in terms of content delivery and teaching strategies, but also in terms of design and evaluation of the process and results as well as its accreditation.

To this end, a diachronic analysis of the studies, already present in the literature, was conducted and it allowed structuring the work in two parts. In the first part the focus is the philosophy of open distance learning; the frame is reconstructed starting from the normative references up to the most recent paradigms that dominate the web. In the second part, the principles, adopted in the planning of the courses, are defined analytically, through the good practices, to highlight the strengths and the critical points.

There are many factors to keep in mind when planning an online course: the target audience, the objectives, the teaching strategies, the materials, the contents and the assessment methods. The MOOCs also allow you to monitor the time taken by a student in a module and how much he spent to prepare, meaningful data when compared to learning outcomes. In tracing the evolutionary lines of the phenomenon, the contribution moves in the direction of a contextualized reflection of e-learning in order to corroborate or refute the quality of distance learning in the form of the MOOCs adopted in different fields (university, professional and social).
Distance learning, Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), Adult education, Higher education.