This is the fourth in a series of articles that tackle common objections to and arguments against using massive open online courses (MOOCs) for training. Read the previous article: MOOCs Treat All Learners the Same.
MOOCs aren’t interactive. They don’t provide opportunities for active learning or engagement. Learners just sit in front of a computer and watch video lectures (they probably aren’t even paying attention) and take multiple choice tests. There is no learner-learner interaction, no instructor-learner interaction, and only a minimal amount of learner-content interaction. This isn’t meaningful learning—one could hardly call it “learning” at all.
This would be a very convincing argument, if it were true.
In the previous post, we saw that the widely held perception of MOOCs as a one-size-fits-all solution is inaccurate. While some MOOCs do take a “cookie-cutter approach” (which isn’t always a bad thing—think compliance training), this is not a trait inherent to the courses themselves. The same idea applies to active learning and interactivity.
By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On December 15, 2014 NO COMMENTS
Massive open online courses (MOOCs) and gamification hit the corporate training world at roughly the same time. MOOCs started to make their way into the mainstream in 2012, and while the idea of gamification has been around for more than a century, and the value of games in learning has been recognized for several decades, it is only recent advances in technology that have made both MOOCs and gamification viable training options.
Gamification has been a growing trend in organizations over the past few years. Starting mainly as a way to motivate sales teams through competition, the idea of using game mechanics has moved into many areas of the business environment, including training. Big-named companies, such as Deloitte and IBM have successfully implemented gamification in their L&D programs, and more organizations will be giving it a try over the next few years. According to this elearning infographic:
- By 2015, half of organizations’ innovation processes will use gamification for some aspects.
- Also by 2015, gamification will be the primary method by which 40% of Global 1000 organizations seek to transform their business operations.
By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On November 24, 2014 NO COMMENTS
This is a question I hear often, and only recently has research become available providing us with an answer. But before we get there, take a moment to ask yourself two questions: “How much learning really occurs in instructor-led training?” and “How much learning really occurs in elearning courses?” The reason I call your attention to these questions is that for many trainers in many organizations, the honest answer is “I don’t know.”
But you should know.
Whether learners are actually learning is important information for companies that are finding themselves increasingly required to provide more training, more frequently. Too often, however, we focus so squarely on training delivery that we fail to measure, or even notice, if anyone on the receiving end of that delivery is even awake, much less encoding any information.
The problem of forgetting
One of the main challenges for workplace education, what Art Kohn calls “the dirty secret of corporate training” is that learners forget, and they forget fast. Kohn cites research showing that learners forget 50% within an hour, 70% within 24 hours, and as much as 90% within one week.
Perhaps the single biggest cause of this extreme forgetting is the fact that traditional training doesn’t gibe particularly well with how people learn. Bottom Line Performance President Sharon Boller puts it well when she writes: “A significant portion of what organizations label as training fits [a common but ineffective model]: it’s delivered as a single ‘glop,’ and large volumes of it are delivered up at once with nothing repeated. The intent in these instances is efficiency, but the result is the opposite because people don’t remember well in these scenarios.”
By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On October 15, 2014 NO COMMENTS
MOOCs, mobile, and Millennials—these three ideas often elicit some measure of discomfort in training and development departments, because while these three forces are greatly affecting businesses in general and workplace education in particular, they remain relatively poorly understood. This lack of understanding means that while Millennials are increasingly adopting a mobile mindset and seeing MOOCs as not only a viable method of training, but their preferred one, many companies are still slow about moving in these new directions. The result is a model of corporate training that is not well suited to its target audience.
Let’s look at some data highlighting the disconnect between corporate training and these various factors.
Here is what Millennials think about MOOCs:
- In a Software Advice study earlier this year, almost three-quarters of 18 to 24 year-olds, and nearly as many 25 to 34 year-olds, said they would participate in a company training MOOC. The same study found that more than half of Millennials would be more likely to apply for and stay with a company that used MOOCs for training. (Learn more about the study.)
- A recent study by QuestionPro found not only that respondents believed that MOOCs offer a high quality of education, but that 78% rated them as being a better experience than a traditional classroom. Millennials in particular are so positive about this learning format that almost 80% of 25 to 34 year-olds expect that in the future MOOCs will replace some parts of traditional education entirely.
Now let’s see what employers think about MOOCs:
By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On July 8, 2013 NO COMMENTS
For the past year or so, massive open online courses (MOOCs) have been busy upending all kinds of assumptions about education: content is king, quality education is expensive, and instructor-led training is the gold standard, to name just a few. But some subtler shifts are also taking place. One major change that MOOCs have greatly contributed to is the gaining recognition of learning as a primarily social activity, where the networks created are just as important (if not more important) as the content learned. The traditional practice of an instructor standing in front of a class of daydreaming students has been tossed out the window in favor of a new picture of an instructor as a facilitator who assists students to teach and learn from others and themselves.
We live in a world where there is simply too much to learn – whether in a history class or a management training program, it has become nearly impossible for a person to absorb all there is to know. Because of this, education is moving from a model of knowledge transfer to a model of learning network development. MOOCs represent the intersection between these two models – knowledge can be transferred quickly and effectively to large numbers of people at the same time and spaces can be created for people to build their own learning networks. The implications of this shift for education are huge; the implications for corporate training and continuing and professional development are staggering.
By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On June 20, 2013 NO COMMENTS
Gamification of Problem-Solving: It’s a relatively new term and may be a little trendy, possibly overhyped, and tends to be misunderstood as a subject. Let me delve a little deeper into painting a picture of what it is able to do (and solve). In essence gamification presents an innovative way to solve real-world problems in a simulated environment. We are seeing proven cases of success of it’s applications and it still has a lot of untapped potential and evolution to take place before making it full circle.
How can you solve problems through Gamification?
According to Karl Kapp, he states that: “It is one thing to teach someone how to solve a problem using gamification techniques; it is another to actually have people work on the problem itself. This is where gamification problem-solving projects like the U.S. military’s game platform for generating multiple ideas for defeating the Somali pirates, FoldIt, and Phylo come into play. Each of these gamified platforms has several similar components that can be employed when creating large scale gamification problem-solving efforts.”
By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On June 17, 2013 NO COMMENTS
A look back in the history books…
When you stop to think about it we have been playing games in one form or another almost since time began. The meaning and application of games has changed dramatically over the years and although the concept of ‘game’ is not new, the term of ‘gamification’ is. Perhaps one of the first forms of gamification could be noted as a toy introduced through the infamous Cracker Jack box way back in 1912. Nothing really happened over the next 68 years, up until 1980. It was then that Richard Bartle co-created MUD1. This ‘game’ was a pioneer effort to introduce the first known massively multiplayer online game. This was the first time that people could experience a collaboration platform that was interactive (even though not interactive by today’s standards). It was MUD1 and others like it introduced way back when pc’s were more in the dinosaur age of evolution as compared to what they are today that helped to shape what gamification is and will be in the future.
It wasn’t until 2002 that another element of gamification came into play and that was in the form of ‘serious games’. Serious Games can best be summed up in stating that it’s a game, but one that is used for training/learning purposes through simulation, etc. It was this movement and the term coined as ‘Games for Change’ that began lying a path down for the real introduction of gamification. In 2007, Bunchball introduced the first ‘modern’ gamification platform. Since then a whole host of other companies have launched competing products revolving around a gamification-like platform and other systems.
By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On June 10, 2013 NO COMMENTS
Let’s just admit now, that most of you reading this blog post have enjoyed some play time behind a video game controller whether it be mastering Tetris, Doom or any other video game for that matter. Although it’s scary to learn that three billion hours a week (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-22508983) are spent on playing games (mainly as a pastime) it also drives home my point of stating that simulations coupled with gamification techniques can be an extremely powerful tool and one that resonates with a wide audience. Games are everywhere; games will lead the way both now and in the future.
It always seems as though the video game industry is introducing sequels to popular games rather than re-inventing the wheel and developing a new game, why not just add another one onto an already popular money-making video game series? Not to name names here, but: Battlefield 3, Uncharted 3 and Mass Effect 3 are just to name a few. And while I’m at it I might just mention Play Station 3. The lure of the video game is to draw the player in, interaction if you will. Not only does one have the opportunity to play against another player but there is also the aspect of the leader board. This leader board drives one to achieve better mastery of the game and reach higher levels. The whole idea around leader boards, badges, community collaboration, achievements and the list goes on and on… is that all of these ideas transfer over to real life.
By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On May 20, 2013 NO COMMENTS
Gamification and massive open online courses (MOOCs) are two of the biggest trends in education. The power of these tools in creating accessible, engaging educational programs is already being realized in many educational and training sectors. For corporate trainers, the need to motivate employees to enhance their knowledge and skills can hardly be understated. According to Badgeville, a gamification platform, the dropout rate for organizational L&D programs can reach as high as 75 percent – that’s three-quarters of employees not completing their learning courses. Clearly, this trend needs to be reversed. Gamified corporate training programs can increase user engagement by more than 50 percent, and MOOCs have incredible potential to reduce the costs and increase the benefits associated with training. It is time for these two mammoth forces to come together.
So, what is the best way to go about gamifying a MOOC? Well, the answer is that there is no single answer to this question. Gamification involves using game elements and game design techniques in non-game situations, but there are many different ways to do this. Gamification is merely an additional, albeit very powerful, tool organizations can use to increase motivation and engagement in their training programs. The specific game elements and design techniques that are most effective will depend on the organization’s training goals and resources. Here we will review how some basic game elements can be applied in a MOOC context.
By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On April 24, 2013 NO COMMENTS
Millennials already make up 25% of the American workforce and that number grows daily as college graduates are finding their way into the workplace. The millennial generation, otherwise known as Generation Y can further be defined by Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Generation_Y) as: “There are no precise dates for when Generation Y starts and ends. Commentators use beginning birth dates from the latter 1970s, or from the early 1980s to the early 2000s. They are the demographic following Generation X.” Also characterized as the net generation, the Millennials are demanding more challenging types of training that they are able to relate to and many companies are embracing the process of gamification to entice this generation into their workforce.
Because of the internet and games, Millennials have different attitudes and behaviors from previous generations. Generation Y’ers typically have greater expectations of the workplace and are found to switch jobs more often than those of Generation X due to the fact that they do not find the job challenging and rewarding enough. The Millennials work ethic is motivated in a different way than that of previous generations; they seek instant gratification and are looking to be employed by a company that has embraced new technologies and allows them to utilize their multi-tasking skills. This so called ‘net generation’ has grown up with video games, they are highly proficient with technology and see games as a tool (not a just a game).
“How do we leverage “nine-to-fivers” who come home and apply all of the smarts and talents that are underutilized at work to plan and coordinate complex raids and quests in massively multiplayer online games?”- Jane McGonigal, Reality is Broken