I’ve been writing about massive open online courses (MOOCs) fairly steadily for the past year and a half or so, and over that time, MOOCs have changed considerably from what they were when they first appeared on the scene. Largely, these changes have been due to more investment and research into the development of digital learning environments.
Early MOOCs were often nothing more than long video lectures with a few multiple choice questions at the end—if you read much MOOC literature, you will know that these early implementations were roundly criticized for their poor pedagogy and almost complete lack of meaningful learning experiences. And the critics were right. However, that is no longer what MOOCs look like. As more institutions have experimented with them, and more research has been done about how to improve online learning, new pedagogical approaches and technologies have come on the scene. In terms of quality and learning, today’s MOOCs rival and sometimes even eclipse what is found in many instructor-led courses.
This post examines a few of the innovative new technologies that are helping MOOCs evolve into powerful active, collaborative, and immersive learning experiences. (For a review of basic technology-enabled learning tools used in MOOCs, see here and here.)
Enhanced content delivery: LectureScape
Watching a long video lecture isn’t any more engaging than watching a long in-person lecture. There are certainly some advantages to video, for example, learners can pause, rewind, and return to the content as needed, even after the course is over. But MOOCs can do better.
By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On September 17, 2014 NO COMMENTS
From the outside, corporate training appears to be something of a paradox. On one hand, it is becoming ever more necessary for companies to provide training, especially for recent college graduates: according to a Gallup survey, only 11% of business leaders believe that college graduates are adequately prepared to succeed in the workplace. Corporate training is also a huge factor in company success—a 2000 analysis by Laurie J. Bassie found that investing $1,500 per employee per year leads to 24% higher profit margins and a more than 200% increase in revenue per employee. On the other, research suggests that as much as 90% of what is learned during training is lost in a short period of time.
Given these data, it’s obvious that training is one of the key drivers for companies’ success. But the data also suggest that many organizations aren’t doing it as well as they could be, which means they are likely not achieving anywhere close to the level of success indicated in Bassie’s analysis.
I’ve written before about various ways massive open online courses (MOOCs) can improve upon traditional training, for example by better meeting the needs of today’s corporate learners and by making elearning more interesting, more interactive, and more relevant. This article addresses three common problems found in training and discusses how MOOCs provide solutions to these problems.
By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On September 10, 2014 NO COMMENTS
So, you have decided to replace, or at least supplement, some of your instructor-led training (ILT) with a massive open online course (MOOC). Great! You are about to join the myriad companies that have seen their training programs blossom through the incorporation of this new form of technology-enabled learning.
Moving from traditional ILT to a MOOC is not as simple as just putting your current learning resources online. In fact, studies have shown that this approach is the exact opposite of what you want to do. The best MOOCs are designed as MOOCs from the ground up, from a digital perspective and taking full advantage of the available technologies. This article outlines an overall approach for making the transition from ILT to a MOOC.
Plan, plan, and then plan some more
Teaching a MOOC is much different from leading an in-person training course, and what all of the differences point to is the need for more advance planning than you’ve probably ever done before. You will be developing the entire course in advance for an audience with whom you may or may not interact on a personal level. This means you won’t be able to see the confused looks on
By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On September 3, 2014 NO COMMENTS
Your training programs need a reboot. You need to train more learners and get them up to speed faster, and you need to do it on what seems like an ever-tightening budget. Massive open online courses (MOOCs) are potentially an excellent solution to help you meet your training goals. But is your company ready?
Rolling out new training initiatives is always challenging, and it’s important to assess the climate in your organization to ensure it is up to the challenge. Below are several questions to ask yourself to help you decide whether your company is ready for a MOOC.
Do you have a large number of employees who need to learn the same things?
If your organization’s training needs can be satisfied by a series of one-time seminars each delivered to a different small group of people, a MOOC is probably not the best option. But, if you have a large number of geographically diverse learners who need consistent, standardized training, MOOCs can provide huge benefits. According to Bersin’s 2013 Corporate Learning Factbook, companies spend anywhere from $100 to $500 per employee per year teaching core business skills like basic management, office productivity, and Microsoft Office. MOOCs can teach these skills just as effectively and at a significantly reduced cost.
By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On August 28, 2014 NO COMMENTS
How do your employees feel about your organization’s current training program? Are they getting the training they need? Do they find that training valuable? Engaging? Relevant? Does it help them do their jobs better?
Corporate learners today need something different from their training than they did in the past. This article will focus on those needs and on how massive open online courses (MOOCs) can address them.
There are no two ways about it: today’s employees need more training—both more than they have ever needed before and more than they are currently getting. This need takes a variety of forms:
- More new-hire training. A recent Accenture survey revealed that while 80% of 2014 graduates expected formal training at their first job, fewer than half of 2012 and 2013 graduates actually received any training at all. Companies, especially those facing a skills gap, need to provide more training to help new hires be successful on the job.
- More regular training. With the pace of technological change, the half-life of skills is getting shorter. In many cases, knowledge and skills acquired five or 10 years ago are now obsolete. This is especially true in tech industries, where skills that were in hot demand even a few months ago may already be in need of an update. Annual or biannual training isn’t sufficient to keep up with the pace of change. As management consultant Mark Lukens wrote for Fast Company, the traditional once-a-year approach to training often focuses more on filling gaps and fixing weaknesses rather than on developing strengths. It also encourages complacency. Lukens suggests that organizations should “change goals as they become redundant or something better shows up, not just because it’s January.”
- More varied training. According to a new study by IBM, 80% of companies are now looking outside of their IT departments for ideas to bridge technical skills gaps. With boundaries between departments becoming blurrier, today’s employees need more well-rounded training options, including technical training outside of their areas of expertise and soft skills training to improve communication and collaboration.
- Innovation training. Innovation is the key to success in today’s competitive business landscape. Innovation expert Anthony Ferrier recommends training employees at all levels how to be innovative, not just to manage innovation. This training can result in benefits an improved bottom line and more empowered and engaged employees.
By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On August 20, 2014 NO COMMENTS
For more than a year now, this blog has focused on massive open online courses (MOOCs). We’ve looked at what they are, the technologies that underlie them, and their place in organizational and employee learning and development. At this point, it feels like a good time to take a step back from the ROIs and the how-tos, and explore the top reason MOOCs are having such a huge impact on corporate training.
MOOCs are not just fancy new technologies to attract and retain Millennials. Nor are they just more efficient methods for companies to save time and money while also delivering high-quality training. Over the past few years, especially as the skills gaps continue to widen and digital technologies pervade every aspect of our personal and professional lives, some of the fundamental ideas that have defined training for decades are shifting. Training is not only moving from in-person to online, but from just-in-case to just-in-time and from knowledge transfer to performance support. MOOCs have become popular largely because their flexible format allows companies to deliver the type of training required in the increasingly ad-hoc, BYOD environment that is the modern workplace.
Training with a purpose
By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On August 12, 2014 NO COMMENTS
Digital learning environments, like e-learning, online training, and massive open online courses (MOOCs), have without a doubt been the biggest influencers on corporate training practice over the past several years. According to recent statistics, 80% of organizations offer online training and companies that have adopted e-learning have realized significant benefits, including 60% reduction in training time.
But while traditional e-learning may offer improvements over instructor-led training, from a learner’s perspective, it still leaves much to be desired. As this Learn Dash infographic shows, e-learners become frustrated by many aspects of their courses, including:
- Finding lists of procedures and regulations tedious (76%)
- Getting bored with the courses (38%)
- Hating it when the pace is too fast or too slow (37%)
In the previous post, we explored how MOOCs can improve on instructor-led training and traditional e-learning in terms of saving organizations both time and money. But of course the ultimate goal of training is have your employees learn something, which requires keeping them engaged.
By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On August 7, 2014 NO COMMENTS
Organizations are now spending more on corporate training than they have in more than seven years. According to Bersin by Deloitte’s 2014 Corporate Learning Factbook, U.S. companies increased their spending on corporate training by 15% in 2013. Training is now a $70 billion industry in the United States and a $130 billion industry worldwide.
This is surely a good sign for the economy, and for training professionals, but what does it mean for companies? Well, it doesn’t mean that all of these organizations are suddenly flush and have extra money to spend. Instead, organizations are facing serious skills gaps that are already threatening their bottom line and promising to have even more of an impact in the future. Employees require much more training than companies were previously providing, and it is taking a toll. So while businesses may have increased their L&D budgets by 15%, they are expecting a much greater increase in both the amount and the quality of the training provided.
Massive open online courses (MOOCs) allow organizations to deliver that increased and high-quality training their employees need without necessitating even larger increases in the training budget. In fact, compared to instructor-led training and even traditional e-learning, MOOCs can even confer cost savings. Here are five ways MOOCs can save your organization time and money.
By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On July 24, 2014 NO COMMENTS
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.”