THE ONLINE LEARNING REVOLUTION
OPEN ONLINE COURSES CAN BE VALUABLE ADDITIONS T0 WORKPLACE LEARNING, SAYS SUNDER RAMACHANDRAN
Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have revolutionised the world of education and most learning and development professionals have started taking note of it.While there is in-principle acceptance of MOOCs as an important tool for professional development and executive education, there is a lack of clarity on how it can be integrated into workplace learning in India.
The Indian education system traditionally has been content-rich but interaction-poor; so, careful orchestration is required for an employee to adapt to this new way of learning needs. Here are some recommendations to integrate MOOCs within your organisation:
1. UP-SKILL YOUR TRAINING / L&D TEAM
Any new platform or way of working needs evangelism. L&D personnel should champion this at the workplace. It becomes critical that they are up-to-speed on the latest in the world of MOOCs, emerging methodologies and challenges. It makes sense for the L&D folks to complete a couple of MOOCs before they start propagating it within their organisations. There are a few websites that are great for curated resources on MOOCs, reviews, case studies, etc.
2. CREATE AWARENESS
This is a big next step and would probably consume most of your time. It’s important that employees are educated on MOOCs and their benefits.You can start by creating a short 30-minute starter module. During this session, get your employees to experience learning sites to gain first-hand knowledge. While there are several MOOC websites, limit your campaign to about two or three sites as too many resources at the start could overwhelm employees. It’s best to allow them to get started and let employees figure out more platforms as they progress.
3. ASK LEADERS TO ENDORSE IT Treat the MOOC integration campaign as any other serious learning solution. Every L&D professional knows that leadership endorsement can be a make or break factor. Get your leaders to talk about MOOCs and encourage employees to participate and adopt it. Ask your CEO to share their views on MOOCs in R&R forums and monthly events. It makes a big difference when your CEO says,“Go try this and it will blow your mind.”If you have an enterprise social network, you can ask employees to share what courses they are taking.
4. CURATE AND RECOMMEND COURSESIt’s important to be a bit directional at the start of the campaign as employees are still figuring out the MOOC mechanics. Research courses and make recommendations to all employee groups. As adoption levels increase, this can and should get totally crowdsourced with time. Think of an ideal state as one where your enterprise social network becomes an indispensable part of learning. One employee asks recommendations for learning a particular skill/knowledge module and another employee recommends.This takes time and continuous effort; so the L&D team must be prepared to play this in the long haul.
5. PUSH VIA LMS AND BLEND
This is something you can consider if tracking and reporting are key expectations. Employees can be scheduled for MOOCs via the Learning Management System (LMS) and then self-report post completion.You could also consider a MOOC with some offline interaction to increase adoption and arrest dropout rates.
6.INCORPORATE MOOCs AS A PART OF THE CONTINUING EDUCATION POLICY Most signature tracks on sites cost anywhere between $39 - $49.This may not be a huge investment but telling employees that even this will get reimbursed is ‘putting your money where your mouth is’.This is also a great way of demonstrating an organisation’s commitment to continuing education beyond the stipulated AICTE-approved courses that most Indian organisations limit employees to.
7. CREATE A R&R FRAMEWORK FOR SUCCESSFUL MOOC COMPLETION All L&D professionals know that ‘what gets rewarded gets
repeated’. It’s a good investment to start rewarding employees who have successfully completed signature tracks on MOOCs. Get your top leaders to hand them certificates and a ‘thank you’card at the reward forums.What you are rewarding is learning agility and a commitment to lifelong learning. These are skills that all organisations will pay a premium for.
It’s important to remember that integrating any new learning solution is less of a technology but more of a culture/behaviour issue.You can always buy the technology but behaviours and cultures need to be built.
- The author is senior manager – training,Jardine Lloyd Thompson India
Source:::: The Times of India, 20-11-2013, p.39, http://epaper.timesofindia.com/Default/Scripting/ArticleWin.asp?From=Archive&Source=Page&Skin=TOINEW&BaseHref=TOIM/2013/11/20&PageLabel=39&EntityId=Ar03900&ViewMode=HTML