Using mLearning and MOOCs to understand chaos, emergence, and complexity in education


  • Inge de Waard Athabasca University
  • Sean Abajian Los Angeles Unified School District
  • Michael Sean Gallagher JSTOR
  • Rebecca Hogue University of Ottawa
  • Nilgün Keskin Anadolu University
  • Apostolos Koutropoulos University of Massachusetts Boston
  • Osvaldo C. Rodriguez Universidad Nacional de La Plata, Argentina



Open Education, mobile learning, mLearning, MobiMOOC, MOOC, collaborative learning, OER, connectivism


In this paper, we look at how the massive open online course (MOOC) format developed by connectivist researchers and enthusiasts can help analyze the complexity, emergence, and chaos at work in the field of education today. We do this through the prism of a MobiMOOC, a six-week course focusing on mLearning that ran from April to May 2011. MobiMOOC embraced the core MOOC components of self-organization, connectedness, openness, complexity, and the resulting chaos, and, as such, serves as an interesting paradigm for new educational orders that are currently emerging in the field. We discuss the nature of participation in MobiMOOC, the use of mobile technology and social media, and how these factors contributed to a chaotic learning environment with emerging phenomena. These emerging phenomena resulted in a transformative educational paradigm.

Author Biography

Inge de Waard, Athabasca University

eLearning coordinator and researcher



How to Cite

de Waard, I., Abajian, S., Gallagher, M. S., Hogue, R., Keskin, N., Koutropoulos, A., & Rodriguez, O. C. (2011). Using mLearning and MOOCs to understand chaos, emergence, and complexity in education. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 12(7), 94–115.