Trends in Learning and Development: MOOCs

By Freddy Mitchell, Dr. Laura Hume & Kenny Simon

Freddy Mitchell – Client Director: MOOCs

Dr. Laura Hume – Director, Learning and Development: I always get this screwed up, you guys are probably going to have to do this one…

Kenny Simon – Client Director: M-O-O

Freddy Mitchell – Client Director: Massive, open, online, courses

Dr. Laura Hume – Director, Learning and Development: MOOC. Massive, so for the masses. Open, so lots of people are contributing content. Online, that’s self-explanatory. And then within these courses, there’s a huge variety.

Freddy Mitchell – Client Director: Tons of content, free. From universities…

Dr. Laura Hume – Director, Learning and Development: That can give you some kind of a certification in CPA, financial planning…

Freddy Mitchell – Client Director: To…

Dr. Laura Hume – Director, Learning and Development: You know, a basketweaving course that’s very short…

Freddy Mitchell – Client Director: (laughs) See, that’s why I’m having trouble.

Kenny Simon – Client Director: Corporate America is a little behind in their use of MOOCs but they’re quickly catching on.

Dr. Laura Hume – Director, Learning and Development: I think it’s particularly effective at two ranges of the employee spectrum. For the very novice learners, it’s great to get that foundational content out of the way, that doesn’t have to be contextualized for a particular client.

Kenny Simon – Client Director: Some basic information on how to use a Word document, or PowerPoint.

Dr. Laura Hume – Director, Learning and Development: There’s a gob of great courses available - you can send them to a MOOC and not have to build a course internally and spend those development costs. The other area it’s great is for the expert learner. If there’s not enough critical mass to develop a course for the two or three or five people who need to build a skill, you can send them out to a MOOC and see if there’s a really deep skill available.

Freddy Mitchell – Client Director: The downside can be that the bail rate of those courses can be pretty extreme. Especially if you’re sending them outside of the organization to one of these sites that offers MOOCs - there’s really little capturing of data that tells us how long it’s taking people to complete their courses, are they completing their courses.

Dr. Laura Hume – Director, Learning and Development: Who is evaluating what is a good course?

Freddy Mitchell – Client Director: If we internalize that, or develop some partnership with those companies, we might get more information but we still know the attrition rate is pretty high.

Dr. Laura Hume – Director, Learning and Development: Originally, MOOCs were all free. Now though, there are enrollment, there are fees, some of these courses can be quite expensive. So the Learning and Development departments still need to be very involved when there are MOOCs. Throwing them out and saying, take courses, enjoy — that’s your employee development program — is probably not very sufficient.

Kenny Simon – Client Director: M-O-O-C…(laughs) can’t even keep a straight face.