How are MOOCs Shaping the Future of L&D?

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It was only recently that MOOCs (Massive Online Open Course) became so popular. These programs are specially designed to focus on students who want the flexibility to study online and in their own time.

According to statistics from the Huffington Post, the number of participants who accessed MOOCs at least once rose from 7 million to 20 million since its inception. With enhanced user experience, MOOCs are the first preference for microlearning needs. It is gaining popularity in enterprise training as well.

Learning Curve

Even with sizable Learning and Development budgets, MOOCs can help to maximize training results and to minimize the investment of resources. What makes MOOCs far more credible is the teaching from expertise from prestigious institutes like Stanford, IIM, MIT, and Harvard etc. or Tech geeks from all around the globe.

MOOCs are here to stay and will shape the future of L&D constructively. A major caveat about MOOCs is an abandonment of the course in the middle as these courses are too lengthy. Also, there is a lack of interaction with the trainer or instructor. 43% of Indian corporates continue to use Instructor-led classroom learning mode which consists of workshops, seminars, and lectures.

MOOC companies are now redesigning their models to deal with this challenge. MOOCs are now more of a blended model where it’s not only a massive course but it is providing added perks like complimentary high-quality course content, interactive session with the trainer, and exclusively designed and modified training as per the corporate needs. L&D managers need to morph and strategize differently to utilize this customized blended package.

Benefits of MOOCs in Corporate Training

  1. Anytime Access – With a hybrid model of delivery, employees can access training anywhere, anytime rather than having to wait for a scheduled training session. Apart from that, it can be offered to all employees across the company, without any additional cost, as there are not any additional printed learning materials or instructor costs involved.

any additional cost, as there are not any additional printed learning materials or instructor costs involved.

2.MicroLearning – MOOCs are massive courses but is a good source for microlearning. As there are only a few MOOCs which provide a course completion certificate and as there is no compulsion to pass or complete any part of the MOOC, it becomes a preferable mode for self-learning. Organizations are now compiling a guidebook that features helpful links and divides MOOC courses into categories. For a quick brush up, these types of segregation really help to bridge the knowledge gap for employees.

3.Track Performances – MOOCs offer real-time analytics that can be used to track learners’ preferences, progress and enhance the learning process from the insights thus gained. L&D Managers can now easily track and find motivated employees not only internally, but also externally, with the metrics like who has completed a course, how long it took them to complete it, and how well they fared.

4. Social Learning Environment – As part of MOOCs, all employees receive the same courseware and assignments which they have to complete in their own time. While it sets the outer boundaries in terms of time limit, it makes space for internal flexibility. This naturally creates a shared, social learning environment where employees collaborate, discuss and engage in peer-reviews. This aids in a social and professional collaboration.

5.Cost Effective – Most importantly, regardless of your organization’s respective industries or the budget size, organizations always look for a way to cut costs. One of the key areas that often requires a large chunk of the sum is employee training. Developing necessary skill sets and delivering vital information to staff members is typically a significant and necessary investment. MOOCs can be an answer for your organization’s training and development needs as they are cost-effective and convenient to use.

MOOCs are free and effective, especially for skill development and foundational corporate eLearning. For instance, corporate eLearning topics that serve as a basis for employees’ compliance certifications. Employees get the opportunity to create a framework of understanding before they dive into the complex subject matter. An L&D expert should research and test drive a few MOOC platforms to find the best MOOC for the organization.

Employees in India are increasingly opting for MOOCs for a number of reasons:

  • personalized learning experience
  • a wide assortment of courses
  • economical options for high-quality content
  • provision of premium corporate learning at one’s convenience


But how is any of this likely to affect the L&D field? Many enterprises are already ahead of the game. They are adopting blended learning for the learning requirements that offers opportunities to collaborate both on and offline. With the advent of the internet and WBT (Web-Based Training) courses, companies began to combine Instructor-led training with WBT. This helped in the evolution of varied types of learning modules to suit diverse situations.

The L&D community can learn from MOOCs and reshape the learning and organizational development. Most of the online learning gets boring after a certain point in time, though MOOCs influences many new approaches to learning, which are being delivered to the modern day corporate learning team.

About Payel Bhowmick

The author is an analyst at SpringPeople & writes on emerging technology trends for IT professionals. Passionate about technology, her current area of focus is the digital revolution currently underway in the edu-tech industry. When not at work, Payel splits her time between writing, reading and watching sci-fi movies.

Posts by Payel Bhowmick

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