Massive open online courses (MOOCs) have been around long enough that most people in the training industry have at least a general understanding of what they are. But there is still some confusion about how they differ from more familiar forms of elearning and online courses.
In particular, a question I’m often asked is: “What’s the difference between a MOOC and a learning management system (LMS)?”
The basic answer is that an LMS is a platform for hosting a course, while a MOOC is the course itself. A MOOC can be run on an LMS, but it doesn’t have to be. In the same vein, an LMS can be used to host a course that is not a MOOC. Misunderstanding often creeps in because the major MOOC platforms — Coursera, edX, and so on — involve both an LMS and a MOOC. For example, if you take a course on Coursera, you are taking a Coursera MOOC that is hosted on the Coursera LMS. (more…)
By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On April 23, 2015 No Comments
Last week, we looked at the building blocks of technology-enabled learning, from elements like learning objectives that are common across all training formats to those that are specific to digital formats, like content authoring tools. This blog will explore more than 60 tools and technologies for successfully implementing each of these elements in your technology-enabled training program.
All training courses and programs should have learning objectives. This may seem obvious, but a lack of clearly defined objectives, or sometimes having the wrong objectives altogether, is a main reason why some training fails.
The first step in writing learning objectives for online training is to identify what type of course it is. As Tom Kuhlmann wrote on The Rapid E-Learning Blog, online courses usually fall into one of two categories: information or performance. Kuhlmann likens an information-based online course to a multimedia textbook: its doesn’t teach performance, it supports performance. Therefore, the objective of an information-based course is performance support. Performance-based courses do teach performance, and their goal is to change learner behavior. The category your online course falls into will determine how you present content and assess learning. (more…)
By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On February 27, 2015 No Comments
To wrap up our series exploring arguments against massive open online courses (MOOCs) and potential risks associated with the courses, in this final post we’ll turn the tables and look at some risks of NOT adopting MOOCs and other technology-enabled learning initiatives in corporate training programs.
MOOCs and other forms of technology-enabled learning signal a shift in our thinking about training. Today, learning isn’t just something we do in class; it’s something we do all of the time.
Companies that choose not to move their training programs into the 21st century using technology face three main risks:
- Not being able to provide enough training
- Not providing training that is as effective as it could be
- Being perceived as out of touch
The Association for Talent Development defines the term skills gap as “a significant gap between an organization’s skills needs and the current capabilities of its workforce that occurs at the point at which an organization can no longer grow or remain competitive because they don’t have the right skills to drive business results and support the firm’s strategies and goals.” (more…)
By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On January 28, 2015 No Comments
This is the second post 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: Public Libraries Are Failures (and So Are MOOCs).
I’ve heard all of the benefits of online learning. Learners can access the course materials anytime, from anywhere. They can schedule their courses around their life, rather than their life around their courses. Companies can offer the same amount of training in less time and with considerably less expense.
I know all of that. But when it comes down to it, people just don’t learn as well online. They don’t put in the time or they get distracted by their email. They can’t easily ask questions. And besides, there is just something magical about an instructor standing in front of a class that simply can’t be replicated in or replaced by the online experience. Right?
The myth that people don’t learn as well online–that there is indeed something magical about face-to-face instruction–is as pervasive as the myth that teaching to individual learning styles affects learning outcomes (it doesn’t). The idea that people don’t learn as well online is usually the first argument made against massive open online courses and in defense of instructor-led training (ILT). But it isn’t true.
Let’s explore the research behind this idea. (more…)
By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On November 6, 2014 No Comments
Corporate training used to mean one thing: “Here’s an orientation pamphlet and a couple of manuals. If you have any questions, ask Joe.” Then it meant another: “Your training will take place October 14 through 18, from 9 to 5. Bring a lunch and try not to snore too loudly.” And then another: “Just hit ‘Next’ on this computer presentation until you get to the end, and then take the test.”
I jest, of course, but only slightly.
The point is that when many people, even in L&D departments, think about effective corporate training, they have one specific format in mind, and that format is usually either instructor-led training (ILT) or elearning. The popularity of each type of training has risen and declined according to various factors, including who’s in charge, training budgets, and what’s trendy. Today, however, with innovation and new technologies, there are many different types of training formats in use, including the classics (ILT and elearning) as well as newer developments like complex computer-based simulations and massive open online courses (MOOCs).
With so many options, which one do you choose? The various formats are not mutually exclusive, and ideally you would not have to make this choice for an entire training program en masse. Instead, the training format you use should be the one best suited to the content to be learned, the needs of the audience, and the needs of the organization.
Below are some guidelines for when to use traditional ILT, elearning, and MOOCs. (more…)
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. (more…)
By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On June 3, 2013 No Comments
Technology is changing at an exponential rate. Think just about the past year or so: mobile devices now outnumber people, online entertainment is rapidly eclipsing television watching, and you no longer have to leave your house to earn a degree. These changes have an impact on businesses in all sectors, but because of the intense pace, it is not always possible to develop new training courses or schedule employee training days fast enough. Companies that are not able to keep up with the all of the changes quickly find themselves on the sidelines. So, how can organizations help their workforce keep informed of the latest innovations so that they can remain competitive? Enter the “rapid elearning MOOC.”
The idea of rapid elearning has been around since 2004. The concept was developed by Jennifer de Vries of Bersin and Associates in response to a survey whose findings showed that 89% of organizations needed to create elearning in three weeks or less. And that was nearly 10 years ago – the current climate demands even more efficiency in training development. But so far, it doesn’t appear that training has been able to keep up: a 2009 ASTD survey showed that it took anywhere from 93 to 356 hours to develop a single hour of training content depending on the tools used and the level of interactivity. With the current rate of change, 93 to 356 hours is simply too long. (more…)
By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On December 31, 2012 No Comments
It is with a sad note that I am the learning physician that has to declare that elearning (as it now exists) is dead. I am positive that many of you are going to say “WHAT”? eLearning has had a long illustrious life. As a baby, it was nothing more than a mail-order course delivered to interested individuals. As it grew up, the teenage years were expressed as computer-based-learning programs that were sent by disk. This was a huge expansion to the development of elearning as a youth. It created a distribution process that was previously unparallelled. It was a great youth experience.
As an adult, elearning showed its capabilities when it was delivered on the internet. With its capability to be available 24/7 and global delivery, it was just about everything that one could possibly hope for.
As it aged, it learned new tools to increase engagement. It successfully changed it self from paper reading to computer screen reading to browser based reading, but it still was nothing more than reading on a different platform. It did learn to add some fancy graphics as well as some novel java and flash tools to increase engagement, but it continued to suffer from a position of isolation. There was not much it could do that would to engage a collective of participants.
This isolation is what caused it’s unfortunate death. It reached millions of individuals, but could not find a way to assist them to learn as a group or community. eLearning is is mourned by its spouse Content Creation Tools and their children MOOC, edx, Coursera and udacity.
Copyright 2012 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
By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On December 13, 2012 No Comments
There are many types of corporate training. People often ask what type of training is best. While on the surface, it may seem that there is a reasonable response, the program is more problematic. Each type of training has inherent strengths and weaknesses. Sometimes the question of which type of training is best is correctly answered by the identification with an assessment of the needs-based purpose for the training.
With each of the following training systems, I have provided a brief explanation and a summary of the pros and cons for each.
Manual (self-training): The presentation of material, hopefully organized, is generally given to a staff member to basically self train. A summary of this training system are:
- Cheap & Easy
- Inability to measure learning.
- Requires self-imposed focus
- Little interaction
On-the-Job Training (OJT): Generally used by many corporations for training. It is a mix of manual training, combined with direct oversight by a mix of management and experienced staff. (more…)
By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On November 15, 2012 No Comments
Keep your training department and its customers knowledgeable by avoiding the Top Ten Training Myths. Training departments are sometimes viewed as being out of touch with the rest of the organization. Because of this, beliefs or myths about training, its functions, and its results tend to develop both within the department and outside it. To keep your training department and its customers knowledgeable, avoid these ten training myths.
One: If training content is exactly the same each time, each group of participants will end up with the same knowledge. We can take every precaution to make sure training is delivered exactly the same every time – it’s a good practice and will maintain consistency. But remember that adults learn differently. Your learners will “hear” different things, focus on different aspects of the material, and lose focus at different times. Don’t promise managers that everyone will know the same thing. Instead, give them an overall picture of what is covered in the material.