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An insight into the ‘Opportunities to create new learning experiences in corporations’ panel at EMOOCs 2015

Mobile and blended learning creates unprecedented opportunities for corporations to reach more people internally and externally – effectively, and at lower costs. 

Mobile and blended learning creates unprecedented opportunities for corporations to reach more people internally and externally – effectively, and at lower costs. Pierre-Antoine Ullmo (P.A.U. Education and MOOCs & Co founder) chaired a panel session aimed to discuss this trending subject together with Thomas Staubitz (Hasso Plattner Institute, Germany), Wendy Cebula (edX, United States), Pierre Dubuc (Open Classrooms, France) and Karel Geeraert (IBM, Belgium). The panelists debated ways to create learning experiences that will move minds, and tackle their challenges and barriers. Here is a small taste of the discussion.

The first issue was to differentiate between the elearning and the MOOC learning experience. For Pierre Dubuc, the social dimension of a MOOC is the biggest difference. As Karel Geeraert said it allows everyone to access the subject expert instead of a training instructor. Yet, people in a company can’t spend as much time on a MOOC as a customer, as Pierre Dillenbourg, of the audience, pointed out. Olivier Brechard, who also attended the panel, asserted that the format of MOOCs has to change radically to adapt to the specific needs of companies. MOOC providers must help companies with frameworks and feedback on their own content.

So what are the key factors of MOOC design? Thomas Staubitz said the paths can be very different depending on the profile of the customer. More generally, the format is very different from traditional learning: they may have less time, the possibility of private and group work, blended learning. For Pierre Dubuc, MOOCs could be essential to change a corporate culture, because of its horizontal social dimension. It becomes an opportunity for cross-cultural innovative learning between employees.

The big challenge is to assess the real success of the MOOCs and to combat their position as the luxury or tool of a specific type of business and instead spread out to other types of companies. For a company, badges and certifications are less important than actual knowledge gain, as Karel Geeraert pointed out. Nevertheless, the certification of people with social eminence will help develop MOOC practice in companies, through social networks or the website of the company.

The session also addressed the risks of MOOCs distortion in the context of corporate training, and the possibility of enabling larger open courses instead. For Pierre Dillenbourg, the MOOC format will disappear as it is now, but it is not a reason to be afraid. Yishay Mor, Learning Design Scientist and author of one of the conference papers, insisted that firms and education companies must learn to collaborate. In fact, companies tend to be faster to adapt to these new technologies than universities. Yet, education companies still focus too much on the indirect revenues, and for the time being are failing to integrate the students’ interest to the same extent as universities.

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