What makes a successful MOOC?

A number of multi-coloured hands reaching up to education icons.

MOOCs are the modern day marmite of the digital learning scene. We want to steer clear of all of the clichés that have already been postulated and stick to what we know best. We hope you’ll find our practical, realistic advice on delivering a successful MOOC beneficial as you make plans for your own online learning.

We think MOOCs are fantastic because they offer dramatic cost savings, a standardised level of training across large organisations and can allow people all over the world access to the leading academics in a subject.

There are three things intrinsic to a MOOC’s success:

  1. High levels of interactivity
  2. Best practice pedagogy
  3. Appropriate technology

Interactivity

Interactivity is essential in all forms and styles of learning. Learners grow and develop whenever content is delivered in a way that makes it memorable.

To inspire knowledge retention and stimulate thought amongst MOOC users, consider the following ideas:

  • Storytelling is being used across a broad spectrum of organisations because it captures the heart behind a lesson and delivers it in an entertaining way.
  • Problem-based learning can easily grab a learner’s imagination. Rather than completing a series of monotonous tick-box quizzes, learners are posed with real life problems faced by other individuals or organisations.
  • Gamification allows learners to apply knowledge and be rewarded as they progress.
  • Social learning allows a group of learners to come together to solve problems as well as give and receive encouragement. The creation of assignments to be posted on social forums creates conversation and stimulates thought amongst learners.
  • Progress tracking and instructor involvement encourages students by showing them how far they’ve come and allowing them to ask questions and receive advice when they get stuck.

Pedagogy

MOOCs present an opportunity to turn learning on its head. It is possible to design learning content in line with how the brain actually learns.

MOOCs are in a position to apply contemporary pedagogical principles and break free from the traditional and often ineffective styles of teaching that have crept their way into many organisations. By monitoring learner activity using big data, administrators can even test the effectiveness of different teaching styles.

In order to be truly successful, it is important that MOOCs do not simply copy dated models of learning from the past but are used as a forum to design new, better ways of learning. We face new challenges than ever before and require a new approach to learning.

Technology

If you’re able to successfully create a MOOC for your organisation, make sure you don’t fall at the last hurdle. When choosing an E-Learning provider, be sure to ask all of the right questions from the beginning. You’ll need to know what browsers will be able to support your E-Learning content, whether mobile devices will be supported, if the systems technology is up-to-date and whether it will require regular updates.

It’s really important to choose the right technology to support your learning goals so make a list of all the technical specifications you require before you begin to search for an E-Learning provider and you won’t have any regrets later.

Organisations all over the world are choosing to develop MOOCs because they offer possibilities and opportunities to engage with learners on a greater scale than ever before. MOOCs won’t work for everyone but if you have a restricted budget, a large learner audience to reach and are ready to adapt your learning content to make it more accessible, then a MOOC might just perfect for you.

Have you recently developed a MOOC? Please comment below and let us know what worked and didn’t work for you. Feel free to share this blog with others who you think may benefit from it. Follow us on twitter @aurionlearning for our latest blog articles and updates.