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Archive for October, 2013

How to MOOC: Social Media in the Corporate Classroom, Part 1

By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On October 28, 2013 NO COMMENTS

Attractive female graduate give thumbs up on internet at classOver the past few months, we have explored the social component of massive open online courses (MOOCs) from several angles. We have examined the role of peer learning in organizations and the importance of creating personal learning networks. We have also reviewed the major technology-enabled learning tools that MOOCs use to support social interaction. In this article and the next, we will put it all together by looking at why businesses should use social media in their training and development programs and various practical ways to implement peer learning through social media in corporate MOOCs.

Many organizations are wary of social media, mainly because of a lack of control and the fear that social networking on the job will quickly devolve into “social notworking.” This fear is probably largely unfounded—companies were also suspicious about email and the Internet, but there is little doubt (and a lot of empirical research) that these innovations have improved, not harmed, productivity. In today’s environment, businesses that do not adopt new technologies are setting themselves up for failure. According to a 2012 Capgemini report, digital leaders—defined as those companies that use new technologies such as social media, mobile technologies, and analytics—are 26 percent more profitable than their competitors and generate both more revenue and higher market valuation ratios.

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How MOOCs Are Used in Workplace Training

By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On October 21, 2013 NO COMMENTS

trainingOver the past several months, I’ve written about the many advantages of using MOOCs in training programs and given suggestions for how L&D departments can most effectively incorporate this new training format. In this article, we’ll look at some of the MOOCs that have been developed specifically for training purposes and business audiences, as well as how some companies are already using these courses are part of their workplace training and development programs.

MOOCs for Business and Training

Some enterprising startups have recently developed training MOOCs. For now, these are mostly in the technology fields, but the scope is rapidly expanding. In addition, the major MOOC providers now offer a variety of MOOCs targeted toward a business audience.

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New MOOC Environments: Distributed Open Collaborative Courses

By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On October 14, 2013 NO COMMENTS

MOOCMassive open online courses (MOOCs) have lately been moving in different directions. Instructors at various institutions have taken the fundamental parts of MOOCs (video lectures, interactive elements, etc.) and reworked them to meet the needs of their particular schools and students. This reworking has given rise to a variety of new MOOC-like courses, including big open online courses (BOOCs), synchronous massive online courses (SMOCs), and small private online courses (SPOCs). Although they all take different forms, these new courses share a common foundation of MOOC principles and components. With these new instructional formats, we are starting to see real innovation in the way instruction is delivered.

These new models can also provide solutions for businesses looking for new ways to deliver more efficient and more effective training. One of the more interesting models to emerge is the distributed open collaborative course, aka the DOCC.

Though billed as an “anti-MOOC,” a DOCC is a model that combines MOOC elements with personalized tools to meet the needs of individual learners and learning groups. Instead of using a single complete set of learning resources (videos, readings, forums, assignments, tests, and so on) to automatically deliver instruction to all learners, a DOCC consists of individual “nodal” courses built around a central theme. The core learning materials for each nodal course are the same, but the approach to those materials is different.

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New MOOC Models: Blended Learning

By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On October 7, 2013 NO COMMENTS

Blended Learning

If there’s one thing we have learned from the rapid changes in education and training over the past year it is that there is more than one way to do things, even in education. New technologies emerge, they disrupt the status quo, and then, inevitably, they change. This is exactly what has happened with massive open online courses (MOOCs).

Contrary to what many people predicted, MOOCs were not a “one and done”—they have continued to expand and gain credibility, and now you can get a massive online master’s degree in computer science from Georgia Tech. And contrary to what many feared, MOOCs have not yet replaced traditional colleges and training programs (at least the last time I checked all of our country’s higher education institutions were still standing). What MOOCs have done and will continue to do is change how education is delivered, both online and in the classroom. They have broadened the scope of what people expect from courses and from technology-enabled learning tools. Over a short series of articles, we will look at some new ways MOOCs are being used and how these models can facilitate training and development programs.

One of the main, and perhaps least surprising, uses of MOOCs and MOOC elements is in blended learning. Blended learning is a model in which online and instructor-led environments are combined to enhance learner mastery and success. This isn’t just randomly introducing technology into classrooms; instead, it is harnessing the power of technology to streamline the educational process, free instructors to spend more of their time actually teaching, and provide learners with the additional supports they need to succeed.

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