The following three MOOC elements are particularly well-suited to corporate learning & development:
- Semi-synchronicity: Most MOOCs allow students to go through the course as a ‘semi-synchronous’ cohort of learners. That means each week the group receives the same assignment of video lectures, readings, quizzes and/or threaded discussions, but each member completes that course work on his or her own time. The design of semi-synchronous cohorts provides learners the opportunity to motivate each other as they go through the program.
- Course design: “Flipping the classroom,” or swapping classwork with homework, was first made popular by Khan Academy, and is one of the defining features of MOOCs.This way, the most of the learning happens not through a professor lecturing but by giving students access to course materials and having them study and explore them at home. Then in class, they put their new knowledge to work with role-plays, use cases, and exercises.
- Credentials: Many MOOCs offer college credit or certificates of completion, which help to legitimize and formalize the learning. At leading MOOC providerCoursera, 14 percent of courses offer verified certificates, for which registration costs between $30 and $100 depending on the course’s length and content. Seventy-five different Coursera courses offer verified certificates, through what the company calls its ‘Signature Track,’ and five of those offer college credit eligibility – they include Pre-Calculus and Algebra from UC Irvine, Calculus fromUPenn, and from Duke one class on genetics and evolution and another on bioelectricity.In the workplace, certificates function as an incentive for employees to complete optional training or skill development courses, because they’ll have something to show for all their work.