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 31, 2014 NO COMMENTS
How does your company currently get buy-in from employees for your training programs? I’m willing to bet that for a reasonably large percentage of organizations, that question isn’t even asked on a regular basis. Training is too often imposed on employees in a top-down fashion—e.g., “The new course on [fill in the blank] runs Monday through Wednesday from 9 to 5. See you then.” If you ever wonder why employees seem less than thrilled to attend training sessions, and then proceed to forget most of what they learn, a lack of buy-in is probably the culprit.
MOOCs are different. They are flexible training formats in which the learners have full independence and control of their own learning experiences. Because they are bottom-up approaches, gaining employee buy-in is absolutely crucial to their success.
So, how do you do it?
By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On June 18, 2014 NO COMMENTS
We have finally come to the end of a long road. We have looked at how MOOCs can foster learning organizations, encourage lifelong learning, and be used in competency-based training. We have explored how gamification, mobile learning, and microlearning are changing ideas and practices surrounding corporate training. And we have seen how MOOCs are changing the role of the instructor and causing us to rethink the credentialing system.
Finally, in this last article in the “Megatrends in MOOCs” series, we’ll look at one of the most underestimated, but potentially most powerful, aspects of MOOCs—their role in building relationships: between companies and their current and prospective employees, companies and their customers, and even between business partners. It may see strange to say, but one of the largest impacts MOOCs have on training may not have anything to do with actual training at all.
The importance of relationships
Contrary to popular opinion, as we become more dependent on technology,
By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On June 5, 2014 NO COMMENTS
New forms of education require new types of credentials. But what does it mean when job applicants put digital badges on their resumes or when an employee earns a verified certificate from a free online course? One of the biggest opportunities for MOOCs and other digital learning environments has been in the development of alternative credentials, which may turn out to be even better than traditional degrees at highlighting one’s knowledge and skills.
Why do we need alternative credentials?
As you are probably well aware, employers in general are becoming increasingly dissatisfied with traditional higher education. This stems from the fact that most business leaders don’t feel that recent graduates are adequately prepared for the workforce: in a recent Gallup survey, only 11% of business leaders strongly agreed that colleges and universities are doing a good job preparing students for work. Only 11%! Most companies want to hire degree holders, and indeed the number of jobs requiring a degree is expected to hit 60% by 2018, but hiring managers are becoming less and less certain about what those degrees actually mean.
To solve this problem, alternative credentials are being developed that are more closely tied to specific knowledge and demonstrable skills.
What alternative credentials are available?
There are basically two types of alternative credentials: non-degree credentials offered by degree-granting institutions (i.e., professional diplomas and certificates) and new credentials that are outside of the traditional higher education system altogether. This article focuses on the latter, as they are the types of credentials that are being developed in conjunction with MOOCs.
By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On May 7, 2014 NO COMMENTS
Last year, gamification was a crazy buzzword indicating a trend that many predicted would be either the savior or the destroyer of education and training. (Playing games at work? But work isn’t supposed to be fun!) Now, it seems like we hear less about gamification just in general, but that isn’t because the idea of using game elements in non-game situations has gone away. On the contrary, gamification has made it into so many aspects of our daily lives that we hardly notice it anymore—if you’ve saved on groceries using a store loyalty card, booked a hotel online, or worn a Fitbit, you’ve been gamified.
Gamification is also working its way into more and more training and development departments. I’m not just talking
By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On April 30, 2014 NO COMMENTS
If you were asked to name the top three current trends in business in general, my guess is that “social” would make the list. To say that social media has flipped the business world on its head isn’t an understatement—from product development to marketing to customer relations and beyond, tools like Facebook and Twitter have completely changed how companies function. But social media platforms are just technologies that have enabled a more fundamental transformation, and not just in business: today communication, collaboration, and social interaction take center stage in our lives, in our work, and in our learning.
We’ve all heard that most of learning is informal, and much of informal learning is social (coaching/mentoring, talking in the break room, chatting online, etc.). Estimates about how much of workplace learning happens in this way range from 70 up to a whopping 95 percent. A 2010 survey by The CARA Group found that corporate leaders and trainers recognize the importance of informal learning and the role social media plays in it. They found that:
By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On April 9, 2014 NO COMMENTS
Over the past several years, the educational requirements for jobs have been increasing. According to a study by Georgetown University, 63 percent of all jobs will require a bachelor’s degree by the year 2018. However, although students have been scrambling to get their degrees, employers are experiencing an unprecedented gap between the skills they need and the skills their employees have. In a survey conducted last year by Adecco, 92 percent of U.S. senior executives reported a workforce skills gap. The major areas of weakness were soft skills, technical skills, leadership, and computer skills, and these gaps are negatively impacting U.S. businesses, particularly in terms of their ability to obtain investment.
The problem can be traced to inadequacies in traditional education as well as a lack of sufficient workforce training. Nearly 60 percent of survey respondents reported that U.S. colleges and universities are not adequately preparing students for the workforce, and although 89 percent believe corporate apprenticeships or training programs could be a solution, more than 4 in 10 said that cost was a major impediment to developing in-house training programs.
The apparent disconnect between what students are learning in their degree programs and the skills that employers require has sparked interest in competency-based training programs, as well as digital learning environments like MOOCs that can greatly facilitate this training. Businesses need employees with skills, and they need them now.
By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On March 26, 2014 NO COMMENTS
This is the last article in our series about how businesses are using MOOCs, as identified by Bersin by Deloitte. In previous articles, we looked at ways MOOCs are being used even before employees are hired, to build talent pipelines, as well as in more conventional training environments, such as for onboarding new employees, self-directed employee development, and workforce training. This final article examines three uses of MOOCs that go far beyond any standard conception of training: educating partners and customers, brand marketing, and collaboration and innovation.
Educating Partners and Customers
MOOCs are excellent tools for workplace education, but there is no rule that says that education needs to be limited to the workplace! Innovative organizations are using these tools to provide education to partners and customers as well.