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Archive for the ‘eLearning’ Category

Corporate MOOCs: Getting Buy-In from Executives and Managers

By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On July 24, 2014 NO COMMENTS

EnterpriseOn this blog, we have looked at massive open online courses (MOOCs) from a variety of perspectives. We have explored what MOOCs are and what they can do, the many reasons corporate training departments are ripe for MOOC disruption, and how to use various technology-enabled learning tools to design and run a MOOC.

One issue we have not addressed, and which will be the focus of this next short series, is how to get the support—from executives, managers, and staff—necessary for a MOOC’s success.

Upper-level buy-in is important for all L&D initiatives, but perhaps even more so with MOOCs. Many of the advantages of using this training format, for example the development of personal learning networks, only come when a course is integrated both horizontally and vertically throughout an organization.

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How to MOOC: Social Media in the Corporate Classroom, Part 2

By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On July 10, 2014 NO COMMENTS

Attractive female graduate give thumbs up on internet at classSo you are ready to design your own massive open online course (MOOC) and you want to incorporate social media. How should you go about it? What tools should you use? When the first MOOCs hit the net, the only real option was blogs. Then Coursera, Udacity, and edX popularized discussion boards, similar to what is used in non-MOOC elearning. Since then, social learning tools have exploded onto the market. At a minimum, most MOOCs today use discussion boards, blogs, and microblogs, and many have some kind of dedicated social network.

Training MOOCs are by nature different than academic MOOCs. One difference that affects the use of social media is the potential audience and the type of content. Organizations need to decide whether to make their MOOCs truly open and host them publicly on the Internet or whether to restrict part or all of the courses to authorized users. The deciding factor may be the amount of proprietary or competitive information included in the course content. For example, a business etiquette course may be hosted on the Internet, while a sales training course may be run on a private intranet. Different social media tools are available depending on whether or not the training will be made public.

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On the MOOC Horizon: Tin Can API

By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On June 26, 2014 NO COMMENTS

Tin CanOver the course of the past year on this blog, I’ve described several ways MOOCs are already changing training and development. These digital learning environments and the technology-enabled learning tools that power them are making training more engaging, more relevant, and as a result, more effective. In particular, MOOCs have three main advantages over traditional instructor-led training:

  1. They allow training departments to easily unbundle content so that employees have access to the information they need when they need it.
  2.  They help foster peer learning and the development of personal learning networks within, and even between, organizations.
  3. They allow organizations to track and mine training data on a large scale to improve training results, discover relationships between variables, customize training programs, and predict training effectiveness.

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Megatrends in MOOCs: #13 MOOCs as Relationship Builders

By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On June 18, 2014 NO COMMENTS

Leader-buildersWe have finally come to the end of a long road. We have looked at how MOOCs can foster learning organizations, encourage lifelong learning, and be used in competency-based training. We have explored how gamification, mobile learning, and microlearning are changing ideas and practices surrounding corporate training. And we have seen how MOOCs are changing the role of the instructor and causing us to rethink the credentialing system.

Finally, in this last article in the “Megatrends in MOOCs” series, we’ll look at one of the most underestimated, but potentially most powerful, aspects of MOOCs—their role in building relationships: between companies and their current and prospective employees, companies and their customers, and even between business partners. It may see strange to say, but one of the largest impacts MOOCs have on training may not have anything to do with actual training at all.

The importance of relationships

Contrary to popular opinion, as we become more dependent on technology,

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Megatrends in MOOCs: #12 Training for Millennials

By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On June 12, 2014 NO COMMENTS

MillennialsThe Millennial generation has posed one of the greatest challenges to the business world over the past few years. Millennials have different ideas from the generations that came before them about what jobs should be (i.e., places to learn and then move on), work-life balance (they believe balance is important), and the place of technology (they grew up with technology and much of their educational and social lives is already spent online). Millennials are changing how business is done, and in particular how workforce education is done. They are also the perfect audience for training MOOCs.

What do Millennials want?

What are Millennials? Digital natives who now make up more than one-third of the workforce. Tech-savvy self-directed learners. Young people who have spearheaded the rise of the share economy. Recent college grads who both expect and require extensive formal training to be successful in their jobs.

Their attitudes toward work and training are fundamentally different from those who came before, and it is essential that organizations both recognize and embrace these differences. As the Allen Communications website puts it:

“As learning professionals, we know we have to keep up with our audiences or be left behind. We also hear that Millennials

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Megatrends in MOOCs: #11 Alternative Credentials

By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On June 5, 2014 NO COMMENTS

New forms of education require new types of credentials. But what does it mean when job applicants put digital badges on their resumes or when an employee earns a verified certificate from a free online course? One of the biggest opportunities for MOOCs and other digital learning environments has been in the development of alternative credentials, which may turn out to be even better than traditional degrees at highlighting one’s knowledge and skills.

Why do we need alternative credentials?AlternativeCredentials

As you are probably well aware, employers in general are becoming increasingly dissatisfied with traditional higher education. This stems from the fact that most business leaders don’t feel that recent graduates are adequately prepared for the workforce: in a recent Gallup survey, only 11% of business leaders strongly agreed that colleges and universities are doing a good job preparing students for work. Only 11%! Most companies want to hire degree holders, and indeed the number of jobs requiring a degree is expected to hit 60% by 2018, but hiring managers are becoming less and less certain about what those degrees actually mean.

To solve this problem, alternative credentials are being developed that are more closely tied to specific knowledge and demonstrable skills.

What alternative credentials are available?

There are basically two types of alternative credentials: non-degree credentials offered by degree-granting institutions (i.e., professional diplomas and certificates) and new credentials that are outside of the traditional higher education system altogether. This article focuses on the latter, as they are the types of credentials that are being developed in conjunction with MOOCs.

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Megatrends in MOOCs: #10 The Changing Role of the Instructor

By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On May 28, 2014 NO COMMENTS

corporate-instructorIn this series so far, we’ve explored how massive open online courses (MOOCs) are changing the nature of learning. We’ve looked at how they can help foster learning organizations, promote lifelong learning, facilitate collaboration, and even provide just-in-time performance support. But one of the biggest transformations that has been brought about by MOOCs, online learning, and the Internet in general is a shift in what means to teach a class. The role of the instructor is changing, and while the initial reaction has been one of shock and fear (educators are afraid of losing their jobs), the truth is that this shift is actually very good news—for companies, for employees, and for trainers.

Here’s why: If your company is anything like almost every other organization, you have probably noticed a skills gap between what job applicants and employees can do and the skills you need them to have. Likely, you are observing the biggest skills gaps in the areas of computer and mathematical occupations, architecture and engineering occupations, and management occupations. And these gaps are costing you money—a recent CareerBuilder survey showed that “on average, a company loses more than $14,000 for every job that stays vacant for three months or longer” and “that one in six companies loses $25,000 or more.” The answer to bridging these gaps is training, but while 80% of college graduates expect that they will be provided with formal training on their first job, only 48% actually receive that training. Clearly more training is needed…and fast. The new role of the instructor in MOOCs means that companies can train more people, more quickly and more effectively, than ever before.

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Megatrends in MOOCs: #9 Flipping the MOOC

By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On May 21, 2014 NO COMMENTS

flipped_classroomAs digital learning environments, MOOCs are incredibly flexible—they can be used for fully online courses, in hybrid courses, as supplementary materials, and more. One of the offshoots of the growth of MOOCs has been an interest in “flipped classes,” which is commonly conceived as a reversal of in-class time and out-of-class time. For example, the typical formula for flipping a class is to assign video lectures as homework and use in-class time for collaborative activities including role play and problem-solving. Here, we’ll look briefly at how to use MOOCs to flip a corporate classroom in this way as well as explore a broader perspective on what it means to flip an online course.

Flipping class time

When people talk about “flipping” a classroom, what they are usually talking about is a way of integrating technology into

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Megatrends in MOOCs: #8 Mobile Learning

By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On May 14, 2014 NO COMMENTS

mobile learningFor the past few years, mobile learning has been the “next big thing,” but no more. As Rob Caul wrote recently for TrainingZone, “With smartphones and tablets more affordable and accessible than ever, mobile learning is fast establishing itself as a mainstream learning technology.” Mobile learning represents a new phase in modern workforce education because it represents an ideal meeting point between providing employee training and achieving real business value. MOOCs, which can provide a technological and learning framework for this intersection, are just starting to go mobile. But with the general shift toward mobile devices and more organizations moving their training programs online, mobile will be the next big phase in MOOC development.

Why mobile learning?

The biggest reason for companies to switch to mobile learning for at least part of their training programs is because

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Megatrends in MOOCS: #5 Lifelong Learning

By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On April 23, 2014 NO COMMENTS

Lifelong LearningWhen Udacity’s Sebastian Thrun, Coursera’s Daphne Koller and Andrew Ng, and other education innovators decided to start putting courses from top universities online, for free, their idea was to make education accessible to everyone who wanted it, regardless of socioeconomic status, country, and other barriers to getting a traditional college education. What they may not have anticipated was that MOOCs would be such a huge hit with people who already had that traditional education—those already in the workforce who had gotten their degrees five, ten, or even twenty or more years earlier.

But that’s exactly what has happened. MOOCs have spurred a major trend toward lifelong learning. Companies are now experimenting with ways to harness their employees’ desire to learn to help their organizations succeed.

The lifelong learning trend

There have been several studies of who takes MOOCs, mostly based on student surveys. The biggest one to date has been a

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