According a report released by Technavio, the corporate e-learning market in the USA is predicted to reach a value of nearly $31 billion by 2020. Much of this can be attributed to the rapid advancement of technology, like mobile devices and cloud-based learning systems. Now, corporate learning is expanding to include free and low-cost learning opportunities to help bring more information into the workplace.
A background on MOOCs
Massive Open Online Courses, or MOOCs as they are referred to, are a collective of zero-cost courses that anyone can access at will via the internet. What started as an effort by several universities to encourage the open sharing of educational resources has now exploded to limitless learning opportunities, all facilitated across multiple platforms. Initially, companies didn’t see much value in MOOCs as they were largely based on college classes in the humanities, but over time, MOOCs have expanded to include many useful facets of business learning.
MOOCs emerge on the corporate scene
In the wake of the recession, e-learning providers like Coursera, Lynda.com, and Udacity heavily marketed open courseware to individuals seeking to improve their skills. Large learning software providers like Blackboard, encouraged free use of their product to encourage the creation of more open courses. Now companies like AT&T, Google and Yahoo are using MOOCs as part of a blended-learning effort to train employees from onboarding through succession planning.
Why use MOOCs?
Career development is the main goal of MOOCs in many organizations today. Employees have the opportunity to increase their knowledge and gain useful skills that enable them to become more effective in their roles. And companies are investing a lot in this effort, leveraging a more skilled workforce to land bigger and better clients, be more innovative, and be viewed as leaders of industry.
Some companies have even partnered with learning management firms to develop ‘nanodegrees’ to train employees on job-specific skills so they are ready for the challenges of working in their markets.
Benefits of free and open learning
Open learning has become the go-to source for rapid career advancement. The key advantages of this model, include:
- It’s convenient. Employees can learn around other tasks, making the most of their productive and peak learning times.
- It’s effective. Workplaces can control the content delivered to employees so it’s consistent and everyone has the same information for establishing corporate procedures.
- It’s inexpensive. Companies can maintain tight training budgets because online training is much less costly than instructor-led training.
- It’s results-generating. Employees are able to be trained quickly so that they are able to make a more positive impact sooner in their jobs.
Learning technology, particularly content that’s being delivered online and through MOOC channels, has a high rate of return for companies that invest in this effort. According to the 2016 Brandon Hall Group Learning Technology Study, “learning technology has a strong correlation to improved KPIs, such as revenue, productivity, engagement, costs and turnover.” Additionally, “Investment in technology is strong and forecasted to increase by as much as 42% of human resource budgets in 2017.” Now is a good time for organizations to make the choice to explore MOOCs and the cost-savings opportunities that they provide.