Most small business owners are adept at doing more with less and tend to acquire skills and knowledge on the fly.
From business development and sales to human resources and accounting, the skills required in small business are wide-ranging and demanding. And with entrepreneurs particularly short on free time, finding training or education opportunities to fill gaps in that skillset can be especially challenging.
Here’s where MOOCs might just be the answer. Learn how MOOCs (massive open online courses) can help small business owners access highly flexible training opportunities across a broad range of subjects and skills.
MOOC’s Canadian Connection
MOOCs were largely a product of the open educational resources movement, with the term MOOC first coined in 2008 by Dave Cormier of the University of Prince Edward Island. Cormier’s inspiration for the original MOOC concept was a course called Connectivism and Connective Knowledge(CCK08), which was led by George Siemens of Athabasca University and Stephen Downes of the National Research Council.
The course consisted of 25 tuition-paying students in Extended Education at the University of Manitoba, as well as over 2,200 online students from the general public who participated for free. Course content was available through RSS feeds, and online students could participate through collaborative tools, including blog posts, threaded discussions in Moodle, and Second Life meetings.
Where to look for a MOOC
While there are numerous MOOC providers these days, a few of the top providers are working with some of world’s most renowned institutions and most successful companies.
MOOC Benefits Compared to Traditional Learning
Free Learning: Do We Get What We Didn’t Pay For?
It seems unlikely that Harvard University or Google would risk diminishing their brand by delivering sub-standard educational programming, but there are some important aspects to consider.
Statistical analysis of MOOC uptake has revealed that completion rates tend to be low — the numbers vary from about three to 15 per cent. Several different factors are likely to blame, but the challenge for many seems to be the self-directed nature of the learning experience itself. Researchers did find that learners who made some sort of financial investment in the course (even $50) had much higher completion rates (closer to 70%).
As with any business activity you take on, whether it’s revamping your company’s visual identity or completing a two-week course in App Marketing, a good return on investment always starts with an investment. Making the most of MOOCs will still require an investment of your time, focus, and energy, as well as a plan that applies the concepts you’ve learned into the context of your business.