A Comparison of Rhizomatic-14(Connectivism) and FutureLearn approach to teaching & learning

Comparison Resources: Rhizomatic15 (research project) and FutureLearn.com(Courses)


As MOOCs continue to alter the education landscape, two approaches to implementing MOOCs (cMOOCs and xMOOCs) are extensively scrutinized on their effectiveness in teaching and learning. This article compares two MOOC projects(Rhizomatic14 and FutureLearn’s The Online Educator) on technology, pedagogy, and the general approach and philosophy.


Technology at this point looks at the platforms utilized to deliver teaching and learning between Rhizomatic14 and The Online Educator courses. The later is seen implementing learning using a chain of social platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and blog (Mackness et al, 2015). Learners are given the opportunity to learn from the comfort of the platform they are familiar with(Participants worked across distributed platforms of their choice). On the other hand, The Online Educator course is delivered using a Learning Management System-FutureLearn. The setting is organized and centrally managed. However, both courses utilize the internet to deliver teaching and learning


The Rhizomatics14 courses, a cMOOC, exploit connectivism in social learning where learners are considered to be in a Community of Practice(CoP) and able to learn from their knowledge and experiences. The approach to learning does not provide a structure of learning where the outcomes are considered at the beginning of the course or the acquired knowledge examined. The method suits the narrative that ‘people learn differently’. There is the presence of the educator but in this case, their role is altered. The Online Educator is structured and the learning outcomes are predefined. The FutureLearn course qualifies for an xMOOC where learner support is rested on peer presence rather than an educator presence.

General approach and philosophy

The Online Educator from FutureLearn is xMOOC massive in numbers and open to all learners from around the world. While Rhizomatic14 takes similar characteristics, the course takes a form of cMOOC with no structures such as content, objectives or even registration. The Rhizomatic14 approach does not assess and/or reward learners on knowledge acquisition. This can be traced back to Albert Bandura’s principles of social learning where motivation is considered to be intrinsic(Wheeler, 2020).


Mackness, J., Bell, F. (2015) ‘Rhizo14: A Rhizomatic Learning cMOOC in Sunlight and in Shade’ [Online] https://www.openpraxis.org/index.php/OpenPraxis/article/viewFile/173/140

Wheeler, S. (2020) ‘Bandura’s 4 Principles Of Social Learning Theory’ [Online]. https://www.teachthought.com/learning/principles-of-social-learning-theory/

Image by Unsplash-Nick Morrison

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