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Various existing learning environments could scale to MOOC size and benefit learners by adding the social elements now missing, from citizen science to simulations, games, virtual reality, and augmented reality.
While those of us in instructional technology are familiar with the rise and fall of "disruptive" and "revolutionary" technologies in education, the amount of coverage from the popular media has made this Gardner hype cycle path appear particularly extreme. Initially we heard the overblown promises of MOOCs providing elite university educations for free. Then followed the high-profile failures, including the San Jose experiment of replacing entry-level courses with MOOCs and Udacity's subsequent announcement that the company would focus on professional vocation training.
Bryant, Todd. "Bringing the Social Back to MOOCs." Educause Review (Article published online June 22, 2015).