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4 ways MOOCs are changing professional development

Sharon Florentine | Sept. 30, 2015
Massive open online courses, or MOOCs, offer a powerful platform for enterprise training, education and development – at big cost savings and with greater efficiency.

The quality of MOOC course material is often as good or even better than curriculum available through traditional training providers, community colleges or universities. "MOOC providers are employing subject matter experts with incredible experience and skills. Because they're virtual, they can be picker about which instructors they choose and what content is presented," says Corey.

Why MOOCs are differentiator

For workers, being able to access cost-effective, convenient and high-quality training is a major career differentiator. The IT industry often seems more like a traditional trade, in that IT professionals are judged mainly on their ability to perform certain tasks or be intimately familiar with specific technologies. MOOCs are uniquely designed to target "trade" workers by providing specific measures of performance.

"That's why certifications are such valuable benchmarks. It's a performance-based analysis of your skillset that can be validated," Corey says, much in the same way completing a MOOC course can.

Being able to "upskill" so quickly and efficiently will definitely offer students an advantage in their workplace, but with the sheer number of available MOOCs, there's concern that MOOC completion will become commoditized and lose its value as a metric, says Mike Feerick, CEO of global MOOC provider ALISON.

"With the sheer amount of access and the volume of content available to so many, workers will have to adapt and start building their skills and knowledge now. But there's so much to learn and so many different paths, it'd be very difficult for two IT pros to have exactly the same expertise - you're still able to uniquely distinguish your value," Feerick says.


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