Learning online and learning for free is the mantra these days. Work will come and go, jobs will come and go but where does one go to learn something new. The place to go is MOOC – Massive Open Online Courses. The courses are offered by many enterprises, ranging from Ivy League universities to start-ups targeting specific learner segments.
People join a MOOC for primarily two kinds of benefits – career benefit and/or educational benefit. A career benefit is something tangible like finding a new job or receiving a promotion or gaining skills to start a new venture. It could also be a boost to perform better at your current job, putting yourself in a more favourable position for a future reward.
An educational benefit is when it allows you to gain credits for an academic program or just helps in completing your course concepts, testing out different colleges for future admission and even maybe help you decide if you like a particular field of study or not.
The beauty of a MOOC course is that it lets you learn at your convenience and pace. While there would be assignments and deadlines or a simple quiz, you can typically use the app or site and watch the video lectures and read the study material wherever you are. A quick 20 minutes during lunch break or one hour of commuting can be productively utilised.
Studies do show that while people register in large numbers (and with all good intention), very few actually complete a course. That’s the downside of anything that is free and voluntary. On the bright side, the number of people registering is so high that even a small percentage of completion means that it is significant. For example, over a million people have successfully completed a course in Coursera alone!
MOOCs have the potential to change the face of education. For students and executives in a country like India, it offers unlimited exposure to high quality course content and academicians. Yes, it requires access to a computer/smart phone and a good internet connection but that too is growing as we speak.
So go try a course today and let us know what you think!
Here’s a small list of some of the options available to you, both universities and big and small setups, free and paid courses.
- Coursera – courses range from Arts & Humanities to Business to Personal Development, etc
- HarvardX and MITX and similar universities at EdX
- KhanAcademy – this is great for students and covers a whole lot of maths, science and college prep topics
- Novoed – a social learning platform
- LearnSocial – this is an Indian platform with focus on paid courses for technical skills
- Simplilearn – again a lot of technical skills and professional certification courses
And here’s an HBR article on who’s benefiting from MOOCs.
So many options for high quality learning… so get off Facebook and Twitter and try a MOOC today!
*Feature image courtesy of jscreationzs at FreeDigitalPhotos.net