MOOC: A viable corporate learning alternative

Economy December 26, 2015 01:00


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ONE HUNDRED years ago, we may have called the library a MOOC as the disruptor in the sense that it provided knowledge to so many who wanted “in”.

Are you planning to invest valuable resources to build learning systems to enhance your company’s capabilities? You are probably contemplating some sort of online learning systems to complement your classroom training. 
Or if you already have an online learning system, are you struggling to deliver online courses to meet the needs of your organisation?
 If you are, you are not alone. 
The value of the global e-learning market is expected to rise to US$50.5 billion (Bt1.8 trillion) next year from $35.6 billion in 2011, with the highest annual growth rate of 17.6 per cent expected in Asia alone, according to a report by Docebo, a provider of cloud e-learning solutions.
Thanks to the sharing economy that we live in today, an exciting new learning alternative has been emerging for some time. It’s called MOOC – Massive Open Online Courses. 
MOOCs are courses authored by professors from top universities made available online over the Internet without charge or at minimum cost to a very large number of people. The content is made of text, videos, interactive assessment and learners work collaboratively. 
Major MOOC players are Khan Academy, edX, Coursera and Udacity, while for corporations there are, Skillsoft and Udemy.
Imagine a person sitting in his living room somewhere in Pai, northern Thailand, who can enrol in and study a course that is offered at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard or Columbia University. 
According to edSurge estimates in 2014, there were more than 2,400 courses being offered by MOOCs, from more than 400 universities, with 16 million to 18 million students. That is astronomical growth from 2008, when MOOC first started.
MOOC represents a very compelling alternative for corporate education today. Just ask World Bank Group, which had made six online courses available to 40,000 people in 190 countries as of October. 
Assuming that you already have your training needs identified (a big assumption in itself), familiarise your training department with MOOCs and courses on offer. If possible, enrol your team in one of the courses. Why not? 
It’s free, after all. The only thing you will be investing is your time.
Start a trial with a group of learners. But don’t call it a pilot. Call it a pioneer group instead. Your learners’ psyche will be more positive if they believe that they are the trailblazers. 
I recommend you pick technical courses such as information technology, marketing, human resources or finance instead of managerial courses. 
Please note that these MOOCs are unlikely to have courses in Thai. Having said that, you should check out a local Thai MOOC provider, Coursesquare. 
To maximise the benefit of MOOC, don’t view it as just a low-cost learning and development option. Instead, look at it from a wider perspective. MOOC can help develop your partners, suppliers and future talent effectively and at scale. Even though learner completion of MOOC is less than 10 per cent, it is here to stay. (a collaboration of Google and edX) offers schools, individuals and businesses platform to build their own MOOCs for free. 
Now is the time to start curating MOOC to work to your company’s advantage.
Suvit Chansrichawla is a next-generation HR consultant under the brand Serendipity & Co, partner of the Curve Group in Thailand.