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Maximise Your MOOC

maximise 400x265How Do You Maximise Your MOOC Experience?

We introduced the concept of a MOOC here, so if you’re unfamiliar with the concept we’d recommend jumping back a page.  In this article we’re exploring how an individual learner can maximise the benefits of using an online course, whether that’s as an employee, or as an indivdual looking to learn a new skill.

Online learning is a relatively new and alternative way of studying a range of new skills.  It’s  progressed massively in the last few years, and has become an equally valid form of learning in the workplace.

However, with change come a few challenges.

Totem Gummi Bears

Common sense and an awareness of the pitfalls of self learning can hugely improve the experience for everyone involved.

One of the main hooks into online learning is the freedom to study in your own time, but this can also be its biggest drawback.  Managing your own development requires self-motivation, discipline and self-control.  Which is a lot easier said than done for many people!  And we’re not about to have an online course about taking online courses!

If you always put it off and think ‘it can be done tomorrow’, maybe online learning is not the best option for you.  For many MOOCs you are required to manage your own time, often set your own deadlines and will be required to find the energy and motivation to work when perhaps you really don’t want to.

One main way to stay on track is to try and follow the schedule of courses as much as possible.  Whilst you won’t always be able to achieve this, if you can either work ahead for when you know in advance you will be unavailable, or catch up when needed, you shouldn’t go far wrong.

Totem Lollipops

Another consideration is that of general life; most people complete online courses around the craziness of day to day life, whether it is work, home or family.  All these competing demands will put pressure on your time and ability to cope, and unfortunately, online learning can easily be put to the bottom of the list.  Particularly if the outcome from the course is linked to some greater sense of reward or advancement.

Finding a way to manage the demands of daily life and working will ensure a much smoother and more enjoyable experience.  And we’d also suggest linking the completion of the course to some greater purpose.

Finally, a MOOC offers us something quite unique in the world of online learning, it’s social interactivity.  You have a whole world of learners from all walks of life out there who are interested in the same topic as you, so use them.  Whatever time of day or night you are studying, whichever module you are on, chances are there is someone else on the course somewhere in the world doing the same thing as you.

By staying in regular contact with the other learners through message boards and course chatrooms/messaging features, you get the social side of studying without leaving your home.  Sometimes all we need is a nudge in the right direction by someone who understands what we are trying to do.

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What is a MOOC?

communication 400x265A Cow With a Sore Throat?

MOOC, or a Massive Open Online Course to give it its full title, is a relatively recent phenomenon.  The impact that these online courses are having on our industry are truely breathtaking, so let’s find out a little more.

The explosion of the internet has made the world a much smaller place and connected every corner of the globe; education is no different to many other industries in this respect. Within a MOOC learners from anywhere in the world are connected with each other, teachers and institutions that could be local or thousands of miles away.

Apply this idea to business and you can quickly connect the learning objectives of an entire, global organisation to the individual development areas of their employees.

Although MOOCs are a unique way of learning, they retain all the features of a traditional learning environment such as lectures, assignments and exams.  MOOCs enable employee’s anywhere in the world with an internet connection to join a particular course, are set tasks and are able to log in and complete the work at a pace that suits them.

Totem Gummi Bears

Learning in this new way has many advantages over traditional training for employee’s, the main benefit of MOOCs is that they enable employee’s who are excluded from traditional forms of training to learn.  This could be because they have roles that don’t allow time out from the business, or because the cost of training a large population of people in a workshop environment is prohibitive.

In this sense, a MOOC can provide tailored, targeted learning to individuals across an organisation.  You can even go further by connecting learning objectives, development plans and bonus structures to the satisfactory completion of certain courses.

What’s particularly exciting is that you can map your employee’s completion rates and which courses have proved most popular to broader, more traditional development programmes that complement the courses offered on your MOOC.  This is likely to increase engagement with the courses and the likelihood of completing a course.

Totem Lollipops

For trainers and HR professionals there are differing, but equally as valid, benefits.  By providing materials online, organisations are able to offer their services to an essentially endless number of employee’s, with minimal work.  Workshops, or courses can be filmed and uploaded, and all without adding much to a trainers workload.

It’s also a great way to raise the status of an organisation as an employer of choice.  For the first time an organisation can actually demonstrate a coherent map of what training and development is available to it’s employee’s, what the take up has been, the success rates and the interventions that come from those statistics.

Another brilliant benefit is that by basing training online, staff are able to engage with other trainers and subject specialists, and therefore collaborate in new and unexpected ways.  And it’s these new and unexpected ways that we’ll be keeping a close eye on the coming months.

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