Learning in a number of organizations is passing through immense change. Some are letting go their training rooms in favor of the digital delivery of content, and managers who are forward thinking are investing on social media, social learning, and mobile devices to support their employees’ learning. Organizations have been remodeling their learning and training strategies around new and rising technology. No matter which technology they use certain fundamentals they must consider about. In this post, I would be addressing those fundamentals and they way these are focused by one of such rising technologies i.e. MOOCs, much widely discussed concept in my last few posts.

It has been argued that MOOC-mania rose to its peak in 2012, which the famously called “The Year of the MOOC” by the New York Times. Variants of the term “disruption” have been used quite a lot of times for this, presenting a huge transformation in how teachers teach and students learn. A year later, The New York Times accepted setbacks that initial results didn’t live up to high expectation were maybe not so surprising. Humbling, high profile lessons from the starting pilots like those at San Jose State University led a lot of students to curb their motivation and enthusiasm.

Today, the debate is now raged on “are MOOCs a success or a failure?” Most of the discussions tend to emphasize on a few major points like completion rates and grades. While these are quite typical measurements of learner success, what is usually missing in these discussions is the treasure of other data that offers a deep insight into trends and their impacts.

Something that usually gets lost in the learning program craze is the complex task of establishing a proper and suitable coding environment. For a lot of students, getting properly established coding exercises proves to be much harder than learning to code itself. This is one of the most severe barriers for the teachers who teach programming MOOCs, stated by Vishal Kapoor, Marketing personnel at Vocareum, at EdSurge’s SF Edtech Meetup in 2014[1]. As per his interview and research, almost 30 percent of the student’s time in a MOOC is consumed in managing the coding setting that they have been working on. This 30 percent is for the people who complete the class, while the ones who don’t, cite this as one of the major reasons “This is week 2, I was still trying to find what this Eclipse (a Java development setting quite famous in coding class) is, so I just gave up”.

Technology can surely help the teachers scaling their reach and influence without changing the way they teach. The teachers don’t require any extra skill, since more pedagogical aspect is already present there. It’s about giving them the ability to scale, and having the visibility to see what’s happening with each student and be able to observe trends into what parts of the course are working-or not[2].

Given the quality of the instructors and organizations delivering MOOCs, there are two questions in my mind, which might not be more popular. According to me, it centers around two factors:

  • Reluctance to use delivery medium without it being a proven success elsewhere
  • Low completion rates

There is certain justification in the fear of initial adoption and MOOCs have also been blighted with low completion figures, with data obtained from Coursera showing that 7-9 percent of the students who enroll on a course, go to complete it[3]. However, I contend that online learning has been there since 1998, and MOOCs are just the extension of it. The corporate world is exploring and integrating MOOCs into their learning and development strategies with businesses like SAP, Bank of America, are all early adopters.

Jaffrey Pomeranz, at University of North Carolina, has some data on the back of the course he has been delivering through Coursera, according to which completion rates can vary massively on the basis of how course enrolment is defined. He experience that completion rate is 5 percent for people who just hit the enroll button as compared to a 8 percent completion rate for those who completed the first task or assignment.

The technological system of MOOC is what is available today. However, with rising rate of technological change, this system would quite different in just a few years. Integrating technology trends in MOOCs to focus on learning fundaments can be a valuable additional viewpoint on how to move forward with MOOCs[4].

[1] https://www.edsurge.com/news/2014-08-04-insights-and-trends-that-make-moocs-matter
[2] http://www.bloomtr.co.nz/7-ways-to-make-the-most-of-moocs/
[3] http://brayleinolearning.co.uk/blog/2013/do-moocs-have-a-place-in-your-corporate-learning-and-development-strategy/
[4] http://www.educause.edu/blogs/nhays/how-think-about-moocs

Copyright 2015 Bryant Nielson. All Rights Reserved.

Bryant Nielson – Managing Director of CapitalWave Inc.– Being a big believer in Technology Enabled Learning, Bryant seeks to create awareness, motivate adoption and engage organizations and people in the changing business of education. Bryant is a entrepreneur, trainer, and strategic training adviser for many organizations. Bryant’s business career has been based on his results-oriented style of empowering the individual.
Learn more about Bryant at LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/bryantnielson

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Bryant Nielson is heavily involved in the Corporate Training and Leadership and Talent space. He currently is the Managing Director for CapitalWave Inc and the training division, Financial Training Solutions. He brings a diverse corporate experience of organizational development, learning and talent development, and corporate training, that also includes personal coaching of top sales individuals and companies of all sizes. For the prior 4 years, Bryant was the Managing Director and Leadership and Talent Manager for Lengthen Your Stride! LLC. In this position, Nielson was the developer of all of the courses for MortgageMae University (MMU), the Realtor Development Center (RDC), and of Lengthen Your Stride! (LYS). In that position, he developed material, refined over many years of use and active training, and condensed the coursework and training to be high impact, natural learning, and comprehensive. Bryant has over 27 years of Senior Management experience encompasses running his own Training and mortgage firm, in New York City. He strongly believes that the corporate training is not to be static but should 'engage and inspire' students to greater productivity and performance.