In this series, we’ll explore some major Megatrends in how and why MOOCs are being used in corporate training and development programs. The goal is to establish an overall picture of the current place of corporate MOOCs, where they are likely headed, and the challenges they may face on the way. In this first article, we’ll examine MOOCs within the context of the recent rise in corporate universities, which has been driven in part by some of the same forces behind the development of MOOCs.
What is a corporate university and why have they become popular?
Pepperdine University professor Mark Allen has defined a corporate university as “an educational entity that is a strategic tool designed to assist its parent organization in achieving its mission by conducting activities that cultivate individual and organizational learning, knowledge, and wisdom.” Corporate universities are distinct from training departments and traditional universities in that they focus more on helping an organization achieve its mission rather than specifically on helping individual employees do their jobs better. (more…)
By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On March 27, 2014 No Comments
Massive open online courses (MOOCs) like the ones offered by Coursera, edX, and Udacity have been around for about two years now, and over the past year or so, I have written about how they have evolved and the impact they have had on corporate training. Now, after several ups and downs, MOOCs are starting to find their place, and it turns out that place is much larger than could have been anticipated: MOOCs aren’t just disrupting how training is delivered; they are changing how companies interact with their employees and others on a much grander scale.
As organizations continue to expand their use of new digital learning environments, we can identify some MOOC megatrends that are starting to shape up. I’ve touched on many of these trends before, but over the course of the next several weeks, we’ll look at each of these trends in turn, defining them, describing where we are in the process, and identifying challenges in their adoption. The goal for this series is to provide a complete picture of the place of MOOCs in training departments and in organizations as a whole. (more…)
By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On March 26, 2014 No Comments
This is the last article in our series about how businesses are using MOOCs, as identified by Bersin by Deloitte. In previous articles, we looked at ways MOOCs are being used even before employees are hired, to build talent pipelines, as well as in more conventional training environments, such as for onboarding new employees, self-directed employee development, and workforce training. This final article examines three uses of MOOCs that go far beyond any standard conception of training: educating partners and customers, brand marketing, and collaboration and innovation.
Educating Partners and Customers
MOOCs are excellent tools for workplace education, but there is no rule that says that education needs to be limited to the workplace! Innovative organizations are using these tools to provide education to partners and customers as well. (more…)
By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On March 24, 2014 No Comments
This series is exploring the seven main ways companies are using MOOCs as identified by Bersin by Deloitte. In the previous article, we looked at building talent pipelines and onboarding new employees: two uses for the massive courses that come at the very beginning of (and even before) a company develops a formal relationship with its employees. This article focuses on two subsequent aspects of that relationship—self-directed development and workforce training—which fit more neatly into traditional ideas about job skills learning and development.
Many different types of learners take MOOCs, and they do so for many different reasons. One of the major reasons millions of people spend their free time taking online courses is to enhance their job-specific knowledge and skills to advance their career. In fact, more than six out of ten MOOC students take the courses either to learn more about their current field or to prepare themselves to enter a new one. That’s a huge number of learners engaging in self-directed development. (more…)
By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On March 17, 2014 No Comments
If you ask anyone in any company why their organization has a training and development program, you will probably be met with a look of confusion—obviously the purpose of T&D programs is to provide employees with the learning experiences necessary to perform their jobs at the highest level possible. But for MOOCs, it’s a different story. Certainly, they can be used for traditional knowledge transfer and skill building. But these are not your traditional training courses, and as massively open digital learning environments, they are proving to have applications way beyond employee training and development.
In his SlideShare presentation “Putting MOOCs to Work,” Josh Bersin identifies seven ways companies are using MOOCs, starting with identifying and training new hires all the way through to customer relations and facilitating innovation. In this article, I’ll explore the first two uses: building talent pipelines and on-boarding new employees. (more…)
By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On March 10, 2014 No Comments
Computer-based training (CBT) has been around in some form for roughly 50 years, and in that time it has generated a significant amount of buzz. Two of the biggest promises of CBT have been universal access to education (especially with the growth of online and mobile technologies) and adaptive learning—the ability to personalize learning experiences for individuals. Now, with massive open online courses (MOOCs) continuing to proliferate and new adaptive learning technologies popping up, it looks like 2014 might be the year these two promises are finally realized, together.
MOOCs and adaptive learning have not quite gelled yet, but there are trends that suggest they will soon. And when they do, the face of workplace and corporate training will change completely. This article briefly reviews what adaptive learning is and how it can improve organizational training and development, and then describes various advancements and technologies that suggest adaptive learning could soon be incorporated into MOOCs to produce some of the most powerful training models we have seen so far. (more…)
By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On March 6, 2014 No Comments
If you’ve been following the MOOC news, you’ll know that massive open online courses have had their ups and downs. In 2012, which the New York Times dubbed “the year of the MOOC,” traditional higher education found itself truly threatened by new forces. Hopes for the courses were high and so was the pushback, but the conversation had begun. Then, in 2013, MOOCs started to really take off and evolve—millions of people participated in the free online courses, and new formats began to emerge, some of which I’ve explored in this blog.
Also in 2013, companies started to sit up and take notice. More organizations became faced with skills gaps, which came in two major flavors. First, companies were having even more difficulty finding qualified candidates to fill job openings—recent college and university graduates simply didn’t have the skills the companies required. And second, with technology changing so quickly, even current employees were falling behind. Traditional higher education was becoming inadequate for preparing people to enter the workforce, and traditional instructor-led training was becoming inadequate for keeping employees’ skills relevant and up to date. Faced with these challenges, a few pioneer companies started to turn to MOOCs as a way to train large numbers of learners in a short time and at a relatively low cost. (more…)
By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On March 3, 2014 No Comments