Why MOOCs and executives don’t mix

28 Apr

Image of desk with laptops, co-workers collaborating.

By Paul Hunter

After the scurry of educational providers scrambling to be part of MOOC mania, the hype has all but dissipated, primarily due to low traction rates and lackluster results.

Undoubtedly MOOCs (massive open online courses) have their place for disciplined and curious individuals with an iron will, available time and a natural predisposition to persevere. However, for time-stretched executives juggling high-pressure professional objectives and increasingly scarce personal time, MOOCs have not provided the hoped-for panacea.

Expecting executive learners to stay the (online) course based on a cobbled together jumble of videos, articles and chat rooms is far-fetched. In such circumstances, expecting tangible results such as measurable business impact or observed behavioral change is delusional.

For virtual learning to work, providers should follow – and executives should look for – these seven basic principles:

1. Start at the end. In the creation of any learning experience, being crystal clear on participants’ learning objectives is the place to start. Bloom’s taxonomy has long since suggested ways of sharpening objectives to avoid undesirable fluff such as “by the end of this program participants will be better strategic thinkers”.

If this is true in the classroom, it is of paramount importance online. Switching on the studio lights or deploying the latest widget before learning objectives have been crisply defined ensures a mediocre mix of multimedia segments that simply will not lead to executive learning.

2. Treat executives like executives. When measuring progress, deploying a range of quizzes or multiple choice questionnaires may seem expedient. However, such a scholastic approach is not appreciated by executives and in many cases fails to provide meaningful data other than basic knowledge retention. The increasing trend toward the use of ever more powerful algorithms may debunk this current impasse, but we are not yet there.

[ Full article available at Management.Issues: ]

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Posted by on April 28, 2015 in MOOCs in the News, Op-Ed


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