From web giants like Google to political parties like En Marche (French political party), everyone is turning to MOOCs (Massive Open Online Course). As a result, traditional companies and professional training organizations have been in 2.0 mode for several years. They’ve all made the shift towards new formats of knowledge transmission.
The world market for MOOCs is estimated at $1.83 billion (2015 figures) and is expected to reach no less than $8.5 billion by 2020 which means the market is experiencing an average annual growth rate of 36%! Access to knowledge has never been easier, and this is just the beginning. Thanks to MOOCs, anyone can access thousands of hours of training from prestigious schools completely free of charge. A huge opportunity when it’s said that 65% of Future Jobs haven’t been invented yet!
Are MOOCs, SPOCs, COOCs and e-Learning all the same?
Let’s start with a few definitions to set things straight:
- MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) – these are completely dematerialized courses, open to all, free of charge. It can regroup thousands of people over a given period of time on so-called blended formats (video, text, computer graphics, video, chat, discussion forum, etc.)
- SPOC (Small Private Online Course) – these are inter-company training courses delivered to a small number of individuals, generally a few dozen. These training courses must be paid for and are most often included in training plans set up by human resources.
- COOC (Corporate Open Online Course) – this is the intra-company form of the SPOC.
- e-Learning (or distance learning): MOOC, SPOC and COOC are the natural result of the evolution of e-Learning, adapting to new learning mechanisms and uses thanks to digital. E-Learning is rather poor in terms of formats offered and is much less social than its young peers. In e-Learning, students often have no means of exchanging ideas with each other and, above all, they do not have access to a teacher throughout the course.
All these courses can lead to certification or even a diploma if a company pays for it or if you individually agree to pay for it in a MOOC.
Distance learning vs. classroom training, same battle?
The debate on the advantages and disadvantages of each of these forms of learning has existed since the first e-Learning sessions were created. The sector of initial training in particular was the first to describe these new forms of learning because they call into question systems that have been established for centuries on how to transmit knowledge. They call into question the usefulness of mobilizing teachers in a classroom in front of a small number of pupils all year round. That said, e-Learning and all its derivatives have not yet succeeded in significantly surpassing the draw of schools, colleges, high schools, universities and other elite schools.
Today, these new approaches to learning are easiest to find in the continuing education and vocational training sectors. Human Resources teams across industries have begun to transform their training offering to integrate SPOCs, COOCs and other distance learning courses which, in addition to reducing costs for the company, are often quite successful if the courses are well thought out and the program is well built. In addition, LMS (Learning Management System) tools are becoming more and more sophisticated, providing a more attractive user experience that generates loyalty and more commitment over time than what traditional e-Learning has been able to do in recent years.
Professions evolve more and more rapidly as companies change at the pace of emerging technologies. It is therefore essential for professionals to be able to adapt as quickly as possible so they don’t miss the mark overnight. As a result, professional training becomes a social and corporate issue. It is therefore necessary for human resources to find the time to train employees on a regular basis. Anything that will allow employees to gain productivity and efficiency in their daily lives will be as valuable as the time they would devote to learning new skills through MOOC.
3 industry trends for 2018
Personalization of content
We will see more and more MOOC solutions emerge, offering an extreme personalization of content, thanks in part to the development of big data and artificial intelligence. It is also a strong expectation of consumers, regardless of training sector, to have products or services best suited to their needs. This personalization has become a key factor of success for any self-respecting business.
Augmented and virtual reality
The emergence of augmented and virtual reality will also make it possible to bring a new approach to training courses, at least for those who are equipped. However, here too things are moving fast. The immersive experiences that this technology allows will also resolve challenges to certain training courses that often require in-person classroom teaching.
Training courses will increasingly be designed for “mobile first” interaction. User experiences are changing and the way content is consumed must change for it to be used at any time, anywhere and in any circumstance. The only possible option to meet these new constraints will be the adaptation of programs for smartphones and tablets. Mobile connectivity in professional training will be an important issue in the future.
The world of distance learning has evolved well in recent years: We have seen the transition from training carried out in “top-down” mode (based on videos accompanied by quizzes), to a much more social and interactive model (with teachers answering students’ questions on forums, chat or video conferencing). This has completely transformed the quality of learning and the value of this type of training. The debate of opposing “virtual” versus “presence” is becoming less and less meaningful. The quality of learning is largely dependent on the quality of the approach. Today, one can legitimately question the benefit of a 100% presence-based approach based on static content and involving little interaction compared to what we see happening on the best MOOCs currently available. Finally, this sector is constantly changing (as are many others) and new technologies such as VR and RA or AI will make it possible to fill the gap that may exist between traditional training and e-learning.