Computer-based training (CBT) has been around in some form for roughly 50 years, and in that time it has generated a significant amount of buzz. Two of the biggest promises of CBT have been universal access to education (especially with the growth of online and mobile technologies) and adaptive learning—the ability to personalize learning experiences for individuals. Now, with massive open online courses (MOOCs) continuing to proliferate and new adaptive learning technologies popping up, it looks like 2014 might be the year these two promises are finally realized, together.
MOOCs and adaptive learning have not quite gelled yet, but there are trends that suggest they will soon. And when they do, the face of workplace and corporate training will change completely. This article briefly reviews what adaptive learning is and how it can improve organizational training and development, and then describes various advancements and technologies that suggest adaptive learning could soon be incorporated into MOOCs to produce some of the most powerful training models we have seen so far.
By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On March 6, 2014 NO COMMENTS
If you’ve been following the MOOC news, you’ll know that massive open online courses have had their ups and downs. In 2012, which the New York Times dubbed “the year of the MOOC,” traditional higher education found itself truly threatened by new forces. Hopes for the courses were high and so was the pushback, but the conversation had begun. Then, in 2013, MOOCs started to really take off and evolve—millions of people participated in the free online courses, and new formats began to emerge, some of which I’ve explored in this blog.
Also in 2013, companies started to sit up and take notice. More organizations became faced with skills gaps, which came in two major flavors. First, companies were having even more difficulty finding qualified candidates to fill job openings—recent college and university graduates simply didn’t have the skills the companies required. And second, with technology changing so quickly, even current employees were falling behind. Traditional higher education was becoming inadequate for preparing people to enter the workforce, and traditional instructor-led training was becoming inadequate for keeping employees’ skills relevant and up to date. Faced with these challenges, a few pioneer companies started to turn to MOOCs as a way to train large numbers of learners in a short time and at a relatively low cost.
By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On February 3, 2014 NO COMMENTS
The entire corporate and workplace training landscape is shifting. I’m not talking just new technologies or new formats, though these things have certainly been some of the major players. I’m talking an entirely new concept of what training means. There are two main forces driving the shift in training:
- ROI. Businesses have historically been very bad at measuring the return-on-investment of their training programs. Trainings are too often evaluated based on hours of seat-time, rather than by any real assessment of knowledge and skills. But many companies have started to wise up—the current business environment is too competitive for organizations to invest time and money in training without observing any impact on the bottom line. And when you start to actually look at the numbers, it becomes apparent that many traditional forms of instructor-led training are frankly not worth it: people forget 90 percent of what they learn sitting in a classroom, often by the time they walk out the door.
By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On May 15, 2013 NO COMMENTS
So, your company has decided to “go MOOC.” What now? There are many options to consider when implementing a MOOC into a training program. The first, and most important, decision is what type of MOOC to use. Although the MOOC model popularized by Coursera is considered the standard format (mainly because Coursera is so big), it is not the only option, and it may not be the best option for your organization. MOOCs differ greatly in delivery format, the active engagement of learners, and the types of outcomes they can produce. Which style of MOOC is most effective depends on the training goals of the organization and the learning outcomes the employees are expected to achieve.
UK elearning entrepreneur Donald Clark has categorized MOOCs into eight different types based on their pedagogical approach and the needs of learners. This taxonomy is useful in determining the right type of MOOC for different training needs.
Transfer MOOCs lie at the “most traditional” end of the MOOC spectrum. These are courses designed for classroom delivery that have been put onto a MOOC platform. Most of Coursera’s offerings are transfer MOOCs. These courses deliver content primarily through “talking heads” videos and assigned readings and they assess learning outcomes using online quizzes and tests. This type of MOOC would work best for training for which the main goal is knowledge transfer, such as employee orientation and business etiquette training.