Again, I have not clearly stated my point.
I use games as a metaphor to talk about MOOCs:
There are two types of games:
- those that depend on programmed design and memorization, and
- that create an environment.where players and objects interact
In the same way, there are two types of MOOC:
- those that depend on programmed design and memorization - xMOOC
- that create an environment.where participants and objects interact - cMOOC
The first type of game was a failure. They could be defeated by mere memorization and were not interesting. They disappeared from the market.
The second type of game was a success, and should be used as a model for MOOCs (and indeed, were a part of the model George and I used when we developed cMOOCs).
So this second type of games is the type of games I am talking about.
When comparing this second type of games and social networks, I agree with you that there are many elements in common. They are both environments, they are based on the interaction between participants, and they can be used to solve problems, negotiate and communicate.
But there are also some important differences:
games are inherently about solving problems or responding to challenges, while social networks can be much more passive.
games typically involve a wide range of different types of objects (even objects in the physical world) while social networks involve conversational elements only.
This not to say that we must choose between either games or social networks. Both inform the theory of environmentally-based learning, where participants interact in a common space with objects and with each other.
But it is to say that a model based on social networks alone will be sufficient to inform the design of successful MOOCs. The elements of a successful networking environment need to be taken into account.
Because, yes, the connections are of the utmost importance. We cannot learn from each other without connections.
But the manner, organization and structure of those connections must be designed with the intent of creating the most interesting and accessible environment. People will learn from each other, not from the MOOC.