On 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.
By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On July 17, 2014 NO COMMENTS
So far in this series, we have looked at ways massive open online courses (MOOCs) have led educators and trainers to rethink how content is delivered and the role of social media in the corporate classroom. This article focuses on a topic that has historically been an albatross around the neck of training and development: assessment.
Assessment in corporate training is complicated by a couple of factors. First, there is a widespread misconception that exposure to information equals learning. The result has been an overabundance of objective testing methods that assess information recall but little else. This practice is probably responsible for the fact that employees retain only about 10 to 15 percent of what they learn in training sessions—information is easily forgotten; only when we apply that information does it become knowledge. The second complicating factor is even more troubling: many organizations don’t assess employee learning at all. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal last year, corporate training researcher Eduardo Salas noted that one of the biggest mistakes businesses make in training is failing to evaluate employee learning. If they do, he says, “they usually stop at the first level of evaluation—the reaction data. Companies think that if there is a positive reaction to the training, people will learn. But what we know is that the correlation is very week between reaction to training and actual learning.”
By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On July 3, 2014 NO COMMENTS
Over 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.
By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On June 26, 2014 NO COMMENTS
Over 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:
- They allow training departments to easily unbundle content so that employees have access to the information they need when they need it.
- They help foster peer learning and the development of personal learning networks within, and even between, organizations.
- 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.
By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On June 18, 2014 NO COMMENTS
We 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,
By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On June 12, 2014 NO COMMENTS
The 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
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?
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.
By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On May 28, 2014 NO COMMENTS
In 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.
By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On May 14, 2014 NO COMMENTS
For 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
By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On May 7, 2014 NO COMMENTS
Last year, gamification was a crazy buzzword indicating a trend that many predicted would be either the savior or the destroyer of education and training. (Playing games at work? But work isn’t supposed to be fun!) Now, it seems like we hear less about gamification just in general, but that isn’t because the idea of using game elements in non-game situations has gone away. On the contrary, gamification has made it into so many aspects of our daily lives that we hardly notice it anymore—if you’ve saved on groceries using a store loyalty card, booked a hotel online, or worn a Fitbit, you’ve been gamified.
Gamification is also working its way into more and more training and development departments. I’m not just talking