What can L&D learn from the MOOC?

Massive Online Open Course or MOOC peaked in 2012 and was declared by the New York Times as ‘The year of the MOOC’.

Typically the MOOC has been targeted at the Higher Education sector, focusing on students that want the flexibility to study online and in their own time. From my own experience, universities have failed to provide immersive learning experiences as often their online learning is a file repository with a lecturer engaging within an online forum (if you’re lucky).  

Is the MOOC any different?

Well, I think so yes!  According to statistics from the Huffington Post, total enrollments have grown from 16 to 20 million students with students accessing at least one course growing from 2 to 7 million.

This is backed up by figures from The Economist in January 2017.

The Economist - MOOC Statistics
The Economist – MOOC Statistics

As you can see the Economist figures are much higher than those provided by The Huffington Post and suggest that there are close to 70 million registered users in 2017.  Furthermore, the Economist have listed the most popular online courses, with the top one being Business and Management.

Other MOOC benefits…

  • Enhanced user experience
  • Micro learning at the point of need
  • Accessible platforms, often via a mobile or web app
  • Immersive experiences, like use of video

Probably the most successful example of the corporate MOOC is ‘Khan Academy’, built by Salman Khan, a former investment banker, who began teaching online using bitesize classes to his cousin in New Orleans.

What can the learning and development community learn from the MOOC?

The L&D community can learn a lot from MOOCs, especially the learning experience. There are many dry / boring learning platforms in the marketplace which give the online learning community a bad name.  

We all have heard about such criticism from employees. The MOOC has influenced many new approaches to learning, which are being delivered to the modern day corporate learning team.  

Josh Bersin calls these ‘learner experience platforms.’ These tend to be media rich, personalised and delivered in micro learning chunks.

As we saw from the Economist study, the popularity of the MOOC community demands business and management skills. What can we learn from this from a talent acquisition perspective?  Is this something which our company could provide for free to potential employees to create awareness of our brands?

Many corporate learning systems have lacked investment.  The MOOC vendors are disrupting this space with a better offer using more advanced technology to provide better flexibility and scalability.

Tools like Lynda.com and Pluralsight can easily be integrated to your own Totara environment using a LTI connector or Learning Tools Interoperability.

If you’re looking for a much richer immersive learning experience, you can try Promatum.com for free by following this link.

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