A company’s Learning and Development (L&D) function is only as good as the outcomes that it consistently delivers. Are your employees working to their potential? Are there skill gaps that have not been addressed? Is L&D listening to what employees think they need more of? All these questions, and more, need to be answered to help an organization learn and grow. The success of any company depends on the success of its employees. In order to be motivated and productive, employees must feel that they have achieved professional growth as individuals within the organization. A training strategy involving MOOCs creates an environment that allows people and organizations to learn and grow, not only as individual entities, but also within the sphere of the industry that they belong to.
When you host MOOCs across your organization, you ensure that everybody is trained to perform role-based activities in a similar fashion. MOOCs enable a uniform content delivery platform, thus standardizing processes across geographies, to the extent possible. In case of process deviations in certain locations, participants from other offices can choose to learn about the reasons for these deviations and increase their awareness of the company’s operations. This environment of “one way” of doing things allows a company to measure and monitor its offices’ performances more accurately.
MOOCs can either contain (1) proprietary content that is developed solely by your company or (2) content that is created by a consortium of companies or an external L&D partner. The former allows you to showcase and discuss the best practices within your own organization across various processes. The latter allows you to develop content that teaches best practices based on industry standards or practical usage. This could not only mean teaching better ways of doing things at work (such as managing your clients), but also better ways of imparting the same knowledge (such as simple examples on information security incidents to explain various types of breaches).
Social interactions within a MOOC enable participants to discuss various topics under the subject being taught. This could mean that people from an office with better process adherence can describe how they maintain process discipline, thus encouraging other offices. This could also mean that participants can discuss issues and challenges that they face, in the context of the subject at hand, and together come up with out-of-the-box solutions. MOOCs engage participants by a method of “connectivism”, which cultivates and promotes a sense of collaborative problem solving. This emotion is carried forward by employees outside the MOOC and into their workplaces, building an environment of teamwork and cooperation.
Social interactions built within the MOOCs can also continue outside, with several participants keeping in touch via a peer network built by themselves. This enables continuous collaboration throughout the employees’ life within the company, benefitting both the individual as well as the organization.
Filling skillset gaps
Because a MOOC is repeatable as many times as you want, employees can revisit topics that they need more clarity on. They can also initiate discussions with other participants on queries or clarifications that they might have, apart from asking the course trainer. Employee collaboration helps employees with stronger skillsets in a particular subject help those who need assistance with the same. One major advantage of social interactions is that one can identify the stars in the participant group. Employees who contribute to problem solving challenges and who show a creative thinking streak can be identified by the L&D function. Monitoring the discussion groups for specific skillsets can also help fill in human resource gaps in other locations within the organization. E.g. an office may have multiple people with strong Basel III knowledge and these employees may be evaluated for filling vacancies in other offices.
Continuing and Professional Development (CPD)
Industries such as Finance, Accounting, Legal, Medical, Insurance and Real Estate need to keep their professionals constantly updated, whether in terms of the latest regulations, newest processes or updating their certifications. This Continuing and Professional Development of an individual, or CPD, is industry specific and applies to all companies within that industry. MOOCs that are created by industry training experts provide high quality training to employees without the need for individual companies to expend time, effort and money in developing the training content.
MOOCs can therefore easily be used to cater to employees’ personal development plans and result in motivation within the workforce.
Developing better content
Because MOOCs are build on the principle of “connectivism”, it also encourages newer, better and more creative ways of doing things. This means that the power of participants’ ideas can be used to update and redesign training content to create more effective learning tools. Feedback on the trainer, videos, infographics and other content within the MOOC, along with participant interactions between various offices and geographies, allow the content creators to identify what changes to the MOOC content is needed to create a better learning experience. This is possible because feedback is all assimilated in one place for easier study and inference for the content creators.
MOOCs allow for better osmosis of thoughts and ideas within an organization’s employees, no matter how close or far they are from each other. This osmosis allows the company to constantly learn and update its processes and knowledge management to enable higher productivity and better quality.
Copyright 2013 Bryant Nielson. All Rights Reserved.
Bryant Nielson – Managing Director of CapitalWave Inc.– offers 25+ years of training and talent management for executives, business owners, and top performing sales executives in taking the leap from the ordinary to extraordinary. 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