MOOCs, Massive Open Online Courses, are a recent innovation in the field of training and distance learning. They are online courses organised by important universities – like Stanford University or Harvard University – that allow anyone (Open), from any part of the world (Massive) to participate in a virtual classroom (Online Courses) packed with interaction, conversation, activities and group work. A MOOC generally lasts a few weeks, during which time there may be moments of synchronous interaction (debates, comparisons, etc…) and moments that are less interactive (reading, videos, etc…) One of the features of MOOCs is their global, social and open learning dimension: the tutor moderates and stimulates a continuous online conversation, which often takes place among the students via public channels such as twitter or their blogs. The value of a MOOC is in the comparison and interaction among the participants, just as it is in an actual classroom. At the moment MOOCs are a typically university phenomenon: they are academic courses available for “massive” participation, from all over the world. At the end of the course it is often possible to obtain a certificate or a certificate of participation. Would it be possible to apply the same formula in a company? Jeanne Meister, who we listened to at Online Educa Berlin , describes the case of McAfee, which used the MOOC formula to innovate their new employees’ induction training. In place of 5 days’ training in a classroom, the participants were given didactic material to explore and discuss with the other participants and with the tutor over a longer period of time but still shorter than the time needed for learning Some people may note that if a course is confined within a company, it loses its “massive” characteristic and that perhaps we should speak in terms of “SPOCs” or “SPOOCs”, where the courses are “small” and “private” rather than “massive”. Aside from terms, companies are asking themselves if the MOOC formula could be an engaging formula of Knowledge Management and therefore which are the best ways to integrate existing MOOCs into company training. Marco Amicucci

written by: Marco Amicucci , 21 February 2014

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