MOOCs: The Professional Development Tool You Might Be Missing

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It’s been about a year since Josh Bersin of Bersin by Deloitte identified MOOCs as one of the hottest new trends in HR technology. And in that year, a lot of work has been done to make them an even more promising tool.

MOOCs are “massive open online courses.” They are available to the public and are easily accessible. This is great news for your HR department, because MOOCs provide a catalogue of professional development resources at one’s fingertips.

There are a lot of ways to fit MOOCs into your organization’s personal and professional development efforts. Some companies provide a professional development credit, and MOOC platforms are a great place to direct your employees as a resource. MOOC platforms can also serve as a hub for initial on-boarding training or ongoing skills development. As you’ll see, many MOOC providers offer an enterprise solution so that you can more formally fit them into your learning programs.

Here are some resources to get you started:

Udemy is a great place to start. They offer courses created by experts in anything from Excel to social media to Spanish. All courses are available “on demand,” so you can take them at your own pace. Some courses are free and others will cost you. Organizations can also license their content and platform, allowing you to create custom courses in addition to the ones Udemy provides.

Udacity has a technical focus, and they provide courses created by leading technology industry experts. Their enterprise solution offers certifications and analytics to track employee progress.

Coursera differs in that it offers college courses from certified institutions. Started by two Stanford alumni, Coursera’s partners include renowned universities, such as University of Pennsylvania and Rice. Some courses are “on demand” and others have official timelines and due dates. The latter option provides more structure and individualized opportunities, like peer-graded assessments.  While individual courses are free of charge, you can choose to pursue a specialization, which comes with a price tag and a certification.

The space is relatively new, and MOOC companies have enhanced their enterprise solutions to make sure companies are getting the most out of this exciting trend. It seems that we can only expect more exciting improvements in the coming years.

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