Trying a MOOC on for size

by Robin on September 16, 2014

High Street retailer, Marks and Spencer has entered into a partnership with the University of Leeds to create a new MOOC (Massive Open Online Course).  The three week ‘innovation and business sustainability’ MOOC will use the archive of M&S development through the ages to explore how businesses can innovate and how innovative businesses achieve sustained success.

I think this is a real win:win situation – so long as they get the learning design right.  As I argue in my recent blog post on Training Zone, the design really matters.  A lot of the focus of the MOOC concept has been on the opportunity for collaboration between students over different geographies and time zones.  The ‘wisdom of crowds’ has been summoned up to describe the thousands of learners who enrol on these free courses and then participate in discussions.  But I have my doubts about the extent to which the collaboration tools are actually used. It seems to me that most learners don’t join the conversations. They are happy to simply sit back and watch the videos.  Still others, albeit a small minority, actively reject the idea of participating.

As platforms in which university level content can be shared with huge numbers of people world-wide I am a great fan of MOOCs and I see great potential for this kind of academic/corporate collaboration in the future.  But if these collaborations are to achieve their obviously significant potential, the learning design will need to be really well thought through.

Check out the blog here and join the debate.

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