MOOCs and the Corporate World

Technology is rapidly changing the landscape of education and learning. I’ve been a learning and performance professional for a little over 15 years. It’s amazing to think about all the ways teaching, learning, and education programs have evolved during that time, mostly powered by advancements in technology. Social media, mobile technology and more have shifted the expectations that individuals and organizations have as it applies to learning experiences.

MOOC by Mathieu Plourde

MOOC by Mathieu Plourde

One of the technology-based education approaches that has been getting a large amount of attention in recent years is the MOOC, or Massively Open Online Course. I’ve read a number of articles about MOOCs and many of them target the definition of the acronym itself, so that there is a clear definition of what IS and IS NOT qualified as a MOOC. I’m less interested in the definition and more interested in the different applications of the model.

It’s for this reason that I prefer The Educause Learning Initiative description of what a MOOC is:

A MOOC is a model of educational delivery that is, to varying degrees, massive, with theoretically no limit to enrollment; open, allowing anyone to participate, usually at no cost; online, with learning activities typically taking place over the web; and a course, structured around a set of learning goals in a defined area of study.

There’s a huge amount of attention being paid to MOOCs in the academic world. What I find even more interesting is the discussion of where MOOCs might fit in a corporate and organizational environment.

Some dismiss the idea of a Corporate MOOC based solely on the open aspect. The idea of corporate knowledge being shared with the population at large is seen as risk. In some rare cases that might be true, though I’m struggling to think of what corporate secrets are baked into the average leadership or communications course. But even if opening a corporate learning program to the public is off the table, that doesn’t mean MOOCs need to be off the table for you. Maybe the Open part of the MOOC means “open to all employees”, or some other adaption of the assumed MOOC model.

It’s that adaption that makes me interested in the idea of a Corporate or Organizational MOOC. We’ve already seen the MOOC adapted for smaller groups in local areas via the SPOC (Small Private Online Course) model. I think there will be further adaptions as more organizations take the bones of the MOOC model and apply them to unique contexts. As someone that has spent most of his career in corporate and organizational environments, I’m looking forward to seeing how can organizations take the generic definition of a MOOC shared above and tweak it so that it fits into and enhances an organization’s learning and performance ecosystem.

CaptureOne of the interesting resources I’m looking forward to is taking the META approach to exploring the potential of Corporate MOOCs. I recently registered for Intrepid Learning’s MOOC on Corporate MOOCs. It runs for three weeks starting on June 9th. Hopefully I’ll see you there to join the conversation and explore the potential of MOOCs in a corporate environment.

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