MOOCs go corporate

As massive open online courses (MOOCs) storm the academic world, the discussion of their impact is ignoring what could become their most valuable application, says workplace futurist Jeanne Meister, writing on The new learning style’s most important legacy could be its impact on the world of corporate training, which is a $150 billion industry.

Two MOOC elements that Meister says are particularly well-suited to corporate learning and development:

Flipping the classroom: Most of the learning in MOOCs happens not through a professor lecturing but by giving students access to course materials and having them study and explore them at home. Then in class, they put their new knowledge to work with role playing, use cases and exercises.

Credentials: Many MOOCs offer college credit or certificates of completion, which help to legitimize and formalize the learning. In the workplace, certificates function as an incentive for employees to complete optional training or skill development courses because they’ll have something to show for all their work.