A couple of years ago, when MOOCs and their ilk were beginning to take off, I wrote a post exploring how useful such things would be for revitalizing learning in the workplace. After all, the traditional model of classroom based exercises had grown stale and tired. Despite social learning coming on a wee bit since then, I’m far from convinced that employers have taken to MOOCs in any great way, shape or form.
It’s a topic that Josh Bersin covered in a presentation at the back end of last year (slides at the end of this post). He outlined seven ways companies are currently using MOOCs in the workplace.
- Building talent pipelines
- Onboarding new employees
- Self-directed development
- Workforce training
- Educating partners & customers
- Brand marketing
- Collaboration and innovation
Whilst some of those are probably standard fare, the use of MOOCs for partnership education and collaboration is indeed an interesting development. What’s more, the social aspect of MOOC learning can enable companies to network with talented individuals in their field, thus building those relationships long before they progress to be employees, partners or customers.
At the moment, I’m not sure the MOOCs themselves are doing enough to highlight these more ‘left field’ benefits that organizations can derive from using MOOCs, thus too many are stuck in the rigid way of thinking that these courses are purely for rigid learning and are therefore competing/replacing classroom based models.
I wrote recently about the need for organizations to look at building a disparate and digitally enabled workforce, not least to overcome the increasingly prescriptive immigration rules many western states are implementing. MOOCs represent a fantastic way of unearthing that talent, if only companies are minded to look for them there.
I suppose the moral of the story is that it’s wrong to think of a MOOC just as a course. Once you think of them more as many thousands of people gathering together to learn about a topic, their potential spreads out before you.
Anyway, check out the slide deck below and let me know your thoughts in the comments.