Article: Augmenting learning & development through MOOCs

Learning & Development

Augmenting learning & development through MOOCs

Organizations today are using MOOCs to supplement their learning and development initiatives in order to develop and upskill their workforce
Augmenting learning & development through MOOCs

MOOCs not only provide learning courses for employees but also help organizations in building a new customer base and attract new hires.


Amidst the various dynamic processes of fast-paced organizations which aim at growing exponentially, the individual learning needs of the thousands of employees are often left unrecognized. Failing to cope with the dynamic growth of large organizations, employees lose the motivation to grow with the company. It is difficult for L&D professionals to understand and cater to such learning needs of each and every individual working for an organization. This limitation calls for the need of flexible and high-quality programs which would help bridge this daunting gap. Ideally, a learning strategy which is symbiotic in nature would harness the true collective potential of an organization.

Modern technology and the internet provide the convenience and opportunity for learners to participate in open learning communities. In 2012, Massive Open Online Community came into notice as a popular learning mode. MOOCs have played a vital role in strengthening the online learning community by providing a large variety of quality courses which would help the learner get valuable certifications. edX, Coursera and Udacity offer plethora of options in courses backed by the teaching expertise from prestigious institutes like MIT, IIM, Stanford, Harvard etc. This makes MOOCs far more credible and valuable than computer-based training and other distance learning courses.

Enterprises make large investments in employee skill development. For example, many IT companies invest in capable employees to enhance their skill sets by sponsoring certified courses in PMP, SAP and Oracle. Through MOOC, employees have the option to improve their skill sets inexpensively by learning from subject matter experts who share practical knowledge with them. MNCs such as Microsoft , AT&T and Tenaris are designing their own custom MOOCs for the purpose of imparting skills in their employees. MOOCs not only provide learning courses for employees but also help organizations in building a new customer base and attract new hires. There are corporations such as Bank of America and Qualcomm which are looking at offering courses related to their core competencies for the public.

MOOCs also favourably assist scalability of an organization. An organization looking at growing at a fast rate doesn’t have to worry if the L&D needs of the existing and future employees will be taken care of through appropriate MOOC courses. An important thing to consider is how organizations and employees approach L&D. According to Shankar Venkatagiri, Assistant Professor at IIT Bangalore an effective L&D uses a Pull approach and not Push approach. An organization where employees completely rely on the L&D programs for their training cannot be a learning organization. Prof. Venkatagiri mentors thousands of educated and ambitious learners from around the globe on edX. Over 20,000 students, as young as 13 and as old as 73, have registered for his Statistics in Business program offered by IIM Bangalore at edX.; the median student age being 29. This goes to show that MOOC defies the traditional education norms of age requirement and distance.

The highly intensive courses offered by the reputed institutes on MOOC are far from a cakewalk. The difficulty level of these programs deters those who don’t put enough effort. Every registered student has his coursework assessed by subject experts who expect nothing short of brilliant to clear him or her in the course. This may sound intimidating but it is what makes these certifications so very credible in the market. Apart from that, MOOC programs also address the skill gaps that many companies find when looking for new talent. Lastly, MOOCs will make way for L&D professionals to exercise their skills to promote innovation and work towards the strategic developments of their organizations.

Until a few years ago, nobody could have foreseen the corporate-oriented offerings of Open Online Courses and neither could anyone predict how far MOOCs will help corporate world in the future. But it is for certain that MOOCs rigorous programs would not only help the employees take their organizations achieve new heights but also gain a competitive edge for themselves in the job market. It’s evident that every large corporation should make use of MOOC to empower their employees with adequate skills thereby addressing their most critical L&D challenge. 

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Topics: Learning & Development, Learning Management Systems, #LAndDWeek

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