More than a fad, it appears MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) are here to stay. In 2013, more than two hundred universities created 1,200 courses for ten million students across the globe. Hailed as a revolution in the education industry, MOOCs have provided an avenue for millions of students to explore everything from data science to behavioral economics and biotechnology. The opportunities and benefits provided by the MOOC model, however, aren’t solely limited to college pupils and institutions of higher education. The time is ripe for not only students, but also companies to take advantage of the MOOC model and transform corporate training from a limited, one time experience to a sustainable, distributed, and efficient system of learning. Fortunately, elearning makes it easy to make the leap to accessible and continuous learning.
Defining MOOC Model and the Value of eLearning
Just like institutions of higher education, efficient and effective learning systems should be of paramount importance to corporations. Companies need to overcome current shortcomings and ensure their employees stay continually updated with the latest techniques, tools, software, and regulations to remain productive. MOOCs played a critical role in revolutionizing higher education by making it more accessible and affordable for students throughout the globe. By incorporating the benefits of MOOCs, elearning has an equal opportunity to transform and improve the current state of corporate training!
Unlike other types of training, MOOCs and elearning courses are not restrained or limited by space. Any number of employees can participate and learn from an elearning course simultaneously. Additionally, elearning courses can be easily translated to multiple languages, which is especially useful for large companies employing workers in multiple countries. As a result, elearning can help companies provide cost effective training for a large number of its employees!
Open and Online
Just like with MOOCs, anyone with an Internet and permission to enroll in an elearning course can access the material and course content at any time. Many courses are even mobile compatible. By being primarily online, elearning courses are able to be accessed at any time which allows employers to easily spread out and distribute the influx of knowledge over several weeks instead of cramming all of the information into one or two sessions. Employees can also regularly review the knowledge in the future to prevent skill decay. In addition, elearning is:
- Extremely convenient for employees. Employees can easily access courses at almost any preferred time. Furthermore, the accessibility prevents almost all time conflicts between work and training so employees can remain productive.
- Cost-effective. Like MOOCs, elearning courses can usually be accessed at low costs. Since elearning does not usually involve the production of physical materials or require constant involvement of instructors and staff, elearning courses can be relatively cost effective, especially if purchased in bulk.
- Relevant. If any techniques or technologies have changed recently, elearning course can be modified easily and quickly to provide employees with the latest information and knowledge concerning the subject.
elearning can help companies provides more cost effective training, more availability options for employees, and more distributed and spread out training.
Many MOOCs are taught by esteemed professors with decades of experience. Similarly, since certain companies specialize in the creation of elearning content for specific areas, they are well versed in designing programs based on the latest effective learning studies and practices to maximize an individual’s learning experience. Just like traditional courses, elearning courses contain a variety of important features. While the characteristics of a course can vary significantly, critical features include:
- Learning objectives. As discussed before, learning objectives serve as essential goals to help learners stay focused, prioritize critical areas, assess progress, and remain motivated.
- Pre-assessments and Post-assessments. By quantifying the difference in test scores, post-assessment and post-employment, employers can accurately quantify the growth in knowledge and skill.
Courses can also include other important aspects such as job aids, reference materials, simulations, and games to promote interaction and augment learners’ experiences. In conclusion, course features can help employees identify key goals, validate knowledge gain, and increase training engagement and interaction.
For further information about creating effective and long-term training programs with elearning, be sure to check out our free ebook, “On the Right Track: Designing Training Programs That Last.” The ebook explains the value of “training tracks”, which are similar to the layout of a MOOC. Learning takes place over several courses that build on one another. The learner is given time to take courses at their own pace, as well as apply the knowledge acquired in a practical capacity.
Achieving a MOOC structure isn’t a big leap if you are currently using or planning to use elearning courses. eLearning already lends itself to being massive, online and in a course format. With a little bit of planning and a set of guiding objectives, companies can create the self-guided, collaborative format made so popular by MOOCs.