Published on 2013/08/16

MOOCs Slowly Developed for Workforce Training

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are slowly gaining acceptance as workforce development tools outside of academia. While the promise of MOOCs is facing increasing skepticism in higher education circles, the corporate training industry is beginning to seek out the advantages of incorporating them into company-wide training programs.

One major employer, McAfee, has turned to using MOOCs to solve its biggest training problem. The computer security giant has reportedly revamped its previously exhaustive training modules by adopting an internal MOOC-style program. While the organization’s old system involved over 80 hours of training, the new method allows their employees to learn at a more comfortable pace, granting access to course materials and facilitating valuable discussions with fellow trainees and course instructors. The new program has saved the company both time and money in preparing and retaining their new hires.

In addition to internal company training, recruitment companies are also taking a creative approach to incorporating the new learning style into their business practices.

One such organization has found an imaginative way to use MOOCs to their advantage. Aquent, a recruiting firm, saw a large ongoing problem with regards to a number of jobs going unfilled as a result of a skills gap in the web development industry.

“Companies were telling us that most candidates weren’t qualified,” Alison Farmer, vice president of learning and development at Aquent, told Workforce Magazine. “We wondered: ‘How do we take candidates that may have been competitive a year ago and help them acquire emerging skills?’”

To solve the problem, a MOOC was launched by the recruitment company to teach job seekers in the information technology sector HTML5; the newest version of the internet markup language essential for current and aspiring web developers to master.

While it is apparent that MOOCs in the training world are a positive opportunity for organizations, it is believed that the number of companies adopting MOOCs as a training tool is currently very low. Chris Davia, chief technology officer at ConnectEDU, explained that security concerns and development costs are the likely causes for the slow adoption rate of this learning style. However, Davia sees MOOCs growing in the training and development industry going forward.

“MOOCs will start to mature when large multinational companies realize they can use it to develop their talent pipeline,” He told Workforce Magazine.

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