What Organizations can Learn from MOOCs

Businesses will always need to train and educate their employees, but by no means does the method have to stay the same. In fact, ignoring education trends could leave your staff woefully behind.

Many colleges and universities have started to go beyond the lecture hall with Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). These online courses reach a large group and foster media-rich interactive education.

Excitement over MOOCs has grown to a fever pitch since The New York Times declared 2012 ‘The Year of the MOOC.’

How MOOCs can help your team

Forget your memories of boring college lectures. MOOCs are designed to be a two-way learning experience. Students from far and wide can offer their feedback, input and opinions on course material that’s loaded with links to videos, interactive discussions, news articles, and other sources.

Because of this, MOOCs offer a lot of exciting corporate training opportunities. Consider this hypothetical:

For years, Widgets Inc. has held a sales team meeting. Their 50-member sales force flies to a meeting center from all over the country. After a few days of education and motivation, they fly back to their territories.

This year is different though. After the meeting, their sales force logs into a MOOC once per month to continue the education and conversations. Each time they log in, they’re prompted to take a survey about their work and contribute to an open discussion about the business.

By bringing the team together with a MOOC, Widgets Inc. has amplified and extended their training at a low cost, collected valuable employee insights, and fostered a deeper professional relationship between employees.

How MOOCs can attract attendees

Judy Coates, Manager of Learning and Organizational Development at the College of DuPage (COD) and a Q Center advisory board member, told us how colleges and universities are using  MOOCs to attract many students outside of their normal student profile: Retirees, people with PhD's, and even high school students.

Like  academic institutions, conferences or meetings that need to attract paying attendees could benefit greatly from MOOCs. They dissipate excuses like lack of budget or time. In addition, MOOCs could be used as a marketing tool to draw larger and more diverse crowds by simply giving a taste of your content leading up to the meeting. And after your event, there’s a great opportunity to build your brand and audience by using MOOCs to keep people engaged.

Starting a MOOC is easy and often free. Try these resources:

Have you tried a MOOC for training, corporate or otherwise? We’d love to hear about it. Comment below!




We would recommend Q Center for companies looking for a unique solution for conducting off-site training programs.

Katie Raymond, Navigant

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