This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.

chairman, Learning and Performance Institute @DonaldHTaylor

Donald H Taylor T

he Gartner Hype Cycle is familiar to anyone who works in technology. It describes

how, from an initial trigger, fascina- tion with a new technology soars to a Peak of Inflated Expectations before crashing into the Trough of Disillu- sionment. Some technologies then slowly climb out of this trough to reach the Plateau of Productivity. Currently, the main incumbent

of the Trough seems to be Massive Open Online Courses, or MOOCs. Five years ago, commercial MOOCs

were the darling of the media. A wave of hefty venture capital funding, combined with stratospheric student numbers, put organisations like Cour- sera, Udemy and edX in the spotlight. In my 2014 L&D Global Sentiment

Survey, MOOCs ranked as the fourth hottest development in L&D. But then the reaction set in. Participation in these largely university-led courses might have been high, but completion rates were low, often in the single figures. Workplace L&D turned its back

on this free/low-cost resource. By this year’s survey, MOOCs had dropped to the bottom of 16 choices. MOOCs were decidedly not hot any more. But while L&D’s attention had

moved on, MOOCs were quietly expanding and growing up. Te main providers were tweaking their models, boosting completion rates, offering a range of different lengths and outcomes, partnering with industry and seeing continued expansion of student numbers. Te approach seems to have worked: in 2015 the number of people globally who had taken a single MOOC doubled to over 35 million. Come January 2017, Te Economist was devoting two pages to them under the title ‘Te return of the MOOC’. So, if MOOCs are so popular, why

the lack of interest from L&D? In conversation with practitioners world- wide, three reasons emerge: they are

Don Taylor urges L&D to get into step with learners and start bringing MOOCs to their learning mix

seen as difficult and time-consuming to fit into the organisational curriculum; many are perceived as poor quality, with little real student engagement, and it is apparently difficult to track their impact. Yet, I have also talked with L&D

practitioners who are using main- stream MOOCs (or running their own) very effectively, and to partic- ipants who are wildly enthusiastic about those they have attended. Whatever practitioners in our

field may think – positive or negative – MOOCs are increasingly popular among the general population. Tat puts L&D in a dilemma. It can continue to ignore MOOCs, even as growing numbers of employees choose to attend them, but the result will be that L&D is seen to distance itself from peo- ple’s own choice of learning, with the further effect that the L&D department is seen as bound to a restrictive curriculum. Tere is an alternative: to

find some way to put these resources to use. Tis need not be done alone – L&D profes- sionals can work together to, at the very least, find the best courses and make employees aware of them. Tis way, at least L&D is seen as being in tune with how many people choose to learn today. However L&D choos-

es to react to MOOCs, ignoring them will serve employees badly and paint the profession in a danger- ously negative light.

Donald H Taylor is a 25-year veteran of the learning, skills and human capital industries, with experience at every level from design and delivery to chairman of the board. He blogs at DonaldHTaylor @DonaldHTaylor

| February 2017 | 5

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44