Our workforce today is friendly to new technologies and new innovations. Gone are the days when introducing a new technology was always attempted to be shot down by employees, resulting in companies incurring high costs of change management. Younger employees today are excited to try something new and older ones have gotten used to the fast pace of change in technology in today’s times. Almost everybody uses the internet, social media and instant messaging. Connecting, sharing and collaborating have become the norm. MOOCs fit in perfectly in this environment, making it an extension of people’s natural method of researching and learning.
MOOCs allow companies to provide uniform delivery of content to all its employees at distributed locations. This allows standardization of processes and competencies across all locations using fewer resources. Employees can learn at their own pace as long as they stick to course deadlines and pass course tests. Sharing your training content allows other professionals to learn from your subject matter experts and create a better talent pool for you to choose your next employee from. Using highly trained and experienced trainers and developing rich multimedia content for a MOOC not only engages your trainees, but becomes your intellectual property (IP) that lends to your brand strongly.
How do you decide if a MOOC is the right method for you to conduct your training? There are a few considerations that you must evaluate in order to know if you will truly benefit by the advantages that MOOCs promise.
Cutting across geographies
Are you a company with hundreds or thousands of employees across the country or the world? How do you provide them training today? Is your training calendar chock-a-block with instructors flying across cities in order to train the same topic to multiple offices? When you have a large employee base, a MOOC allows you to impart training across all locations in a much shorter period of time.
Strong training content
Your course content has to be top-notch, taking into account geographical differences, various ethnic groups, legal and regulatory differences and market conditions. The instructor also has to be interesting to the trainee as, unlike a regular classroom, the trainee can easily get distracted while attending a MOOC. Additionally, you have to invest in developing videos and other interactive content for your audience. If you do not wish to generate all this content yourself, you could use content made available by other MOOCs for your employees. When MOOCs start gaining ground in the corporate sphere with a lot of content being generated, this could be a cost effective option for your company.
Tighter training budget
Because MOOCs are to be provided on the online platform, you do not spend the same kind of time or money in travel, training space, meals and refreshments, stationery and other sundry expenses. If you plan to host your own MOOCs, you’ll need to invest initially in the infrastructure and regularly on the training content. If not, you may use MOOCs created by another peer company or training organization.
Your employees can attend a MOOC at their own time, without affecting their daily schedules or routine. This is especially useful for client-facing professionals who must adhere to their clients’ schedules for meetings and deliverables. Employees can even revisit a training if they wish to go through some concepts again for the sake of clarity.
Continuing and Professional Development (CPD)
Accounting, legal, insurance, medical, finance and other professionals require ongoing and continual attendance to relevant industry programs. Instead of organizations independently spending so many dollars on programs with similar content, a MOOC will allow several companies to leverage on training content developed by either an L&D organization or a consortium of companies.
A MOOC is a wonderful way to bring in standardized processes across your company. Employees can not only learn one way of doing things, but offices with weaker process adherence can also learn from offices with stronger process adherence. Connectivism allows MOOCs to bring people together in a discussion that creates a sense of collaboration and healthy competition. Instructor-led trainings cannot create this atmosphere due to each location conducting its own separate trainings, as one large classroom training is not logistically viable for all your employees. E-learning courses, while imparting standardized trainings, do not allow any interaction between trainees at all and thus reduce the effectiveness that we see in MOOCs.
Because of the collaboration and competition with such a ‘massive’ group of people, MOOCs allow people to bring up situations and challenges from their different workplaces. Together, training attendees attempt to develop creative solutions to issues, with a huge positive impact on employee morale and company efficiency. With instructor-led trainings and e-learning, such interactions are impossible and hardly ever do we see a training being a reason for creativity highs within the organization.
MOOCs with well thought of and well executed content pull the trainees’ attention into the subject matter, allowing for an enjoyable learning experience. This makes concepts clearer and drives the trainee to perform additional research and self-study on the subject. Traditional methods of corporate training are known to be drab and do not motivate many employees to study outside the classroom or the course material.
A MOOC brings together the online classroom as a network of professionals with a common objective or interest. This not only initiates discussions that lead to creative problem solving, but also creates a peer network that continue to discuss and debate on related topics even after the training is over. Imagine a group of, say, Certified Public Accountants or Environmental Lawyers, who connect regularly to update themselves on real applications and real challenges of their industry, and together come up with out-of-the-box solutions that help them and, in the process, their companies.
Brand and Intellectual Property (IP)
A MOOC is nothing but an event that brings together people who have a common learning objective to acquire or improve certain skillsets. Like any other event, a MOOC is a brilliant platform to showcase your brand. A MOOC developed using your subject matter experts, containing examples of your company or simple promoted by your organization will give you visibility. You can even create an amazing library of training content that will add to your IP with far more value than traditional instructor-driven or even e-learning courses.
Companies at both ends at the spectrum – those that create content as well as those that use others’ content – will benefit from MOOCs. Compared to other forms of corporate trainings, a MOOC is a revolutionary concept that will change the way we provide and receive training. In keeping with the times, MOOCs will especially appeal to the younger workforces who like to have control over their schedules and study patterns. Google’s Course Builder will push more and more institutes, and soon corporates, into the fray. Over a period of time, we may even see hybrid models of MOOCs and traditional training methods as this new concept reaches its plateau of productivity in the hype cycle. Start building your L&D strategy today!
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