Will 2016 be the year that MOOCs replace LMSs?

Acronym 'LMS' of the yellow square pixels on a black matrix background. Learning management system concept.
Acronym 'LMS' of the yellow square pixels on a black matrix background. Learning management system concept.
Acronym ‘LMS’ of the yellow square pixels on a black matrix background. Learning management system concept.

My previous posts would already have given you an idea of the increasing penetration of MOOCs in training and development industry today, where traditional L&D modes are quickly being replaced with immense and rapid technological advancements. The arrival of 2016 means we are going to have new elearning scenarios and predictions. In previous year, we believed that experimentation with analytics oriented performance enhancement would leads toward more intelligent anticipations and personalized professional training and development. It was also anticipated that today’s enterprise LMS solutions would let companies to expand on training opportunities and license to third part audiences[1]. In addition, we also came across a belief that investment in MOOCs and Micro learning is going to increase due to increase in its demand for meaningful outcomes and ability to keep reshaping the economics of the professional development.

Our question is based on will the trends in 2016 be suitable to create a scenario that witnesses a massive replacement of LMSs by the MOOCs. Computer based or web based learning, also called elearning is the phenomenon we all are familiar with. Many of my posts have already shared with you a lot about this MOOC world. All of us have applied some of the tools used in virtual learning setting at least once in our lives. MOOC is a great addition to this vocabulary. Many trainers confuse LMS with MOOC, which needs to be stopped. Only after understanding a blur and fine line between LMS and MOOC, we would be able to determine if 2016 is going to see LMS replacement with MOOCs.

An LMS is the software which automates the training administration. The LMS registers the learners, tracks courses given in a catalogue, maintains data from learners, and gives reports to the management on the basis of predefined periods. An LMS is usually designed for the purpose of handling courses by various providers and publishers. It usually excludes its own authoring abilities; rather it emphasizes on handling courses developed by a range of other sources. On the other hand, the MOOC is basically an entire course. It is accessible, without any pre-requisites usually, to everyone who wants to enroll. Many of these are free of cost, with self evaluation or peer assignment included. It leads to the possibility to train more than 100,000 learners or students at a time, for a course[2].

Now let’s see why MOOCs are going to replace LMSs in 2016. MOOCs, in my view, are not only for college students or budding programmers any more. The courses offered from top notch MOOC providers like yourtrainingedge, Coursera, EdX, and Udacity have, until recently, been mainly focused on the academic setting. In addition, all of the main MOOC vendors have developed their classes by means of partnership with renowned and prestigious universities like MIT, UPenn, and Stanford. However, evidences show that academic and students might not be the only user base for the MOOCs.

The founder of Yourtrainingedge.com, a successful learning startup, Bryant Nielson[3] estimates that MOOC implementation decreases the training cost of the organizations by 25 percent. The reduction in the need of employees for travelling to a physically dispersed location and for the trainers to be present during the process, they can radically cut both man-hours and expenses. It has been proved that if a company decides to develop or commission its own MOOC, the chances are there that cost might exceed the benefit to a huge extent. Udacity allocates budgets of around $20,000 for each of its course it develops, and the University of Pennsylvania allocates $50,000 per course for building classes for Coursera[4]. EdX prices $250,000 for designing and developing a course for the academic partners. The primary costs might make MOOCs the most valuable option to big businesses and academic institutions that are already investing big money on traditional training programs. This is a great sign to forecast that MOOCs are on the way to replace LMSs in 2016.

What is stopping LMSs to dominate MOOCs?

Well, I will briefly state the major differences between the two, which would help in giving answer to this question[5]:

MOOC LMS
Unlimited Learner; 100,000 plus Restricted number of learners
Open to everyone Not open to everyone
Open ended with dynamic content Close ended with static content
Pull Model Push model
Collaborated learning Isolated learning
Democratic process Hierarchical process

Integrating MOOCs in businesses would challenge the way corporate learning departments and human resources historically work, however, many observe the positive opportunities. A survey conducted by Future Workplace, interviewed 195 corporate learning and Human Resource professionals, in which 70 percent showed their preference to integrate MOOCs in their own training programs, rather than developing, implementing and managing a fully fledged LMS[6]. Experts state that instead of LMS development, applying MOOCs through third party learning startup or organization is in the greatest benefit of the organizations, since it not just saves a huge cost, but also keeps the focus of the training managers and Human Resource personnel to the right place, i.e. the areas of improvement, employees’ training needs and effective performance appraisals procedures.

[1] https://atabhagwat.wordpress.com/2014/11/01/learning-with-a-mooc-vs-learning-on-an-lms/
[2] http://www.webcourseworks.com/elearning-predictions-2015/
[3] http://www.yourtrainingedge.com/should-your-corporate-training-strategy-move-to-the-mooc/
[4] http://blog.capterra.com/mooc-right-training-program-3-pros-cons/
[5] https://www.webanywhere.co.uk/enterprise/mooc-vs-lms-the-opportunities-for-workplace-learning/
[6] https://www.webanywhere.co.uk/enterprise/mooc-vs-lms-the-opportunities-for-workplace-learning/

Copyright 2016 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.