A Perspective on Open Courses (MOOC) in Management

Have you heard lately about this arts student in Kenya who talks authentically about the fractal theory? He attended an MOOC (Massively Open Online Course). Rajul Garg discusses:

What is the need for open courses in management?

Basic management skills and business awareness are fast becoming hygiene in a commercial environment irrespective of the job function. However, working professionals today have very few options to enhance their education. Company provided training is too contextual and full of vested interests. Independent education is expensive and cumbersome. This is such a loss since working professionals have a much greater ability to appreciate, absorb and apply concepts without the pressure of a job or an exam.

Open courses provide an ability for working professionals to enhance their skills in a lightweight, not too cumbersome, not too expensive (in fact, mostly free) way. It’s almost too good to be true.

What kind of open courses can be run in management?

We have found the most popular category to more behavioral courses around difficult conversations, negotiations, entrepreneurship in workplace, managerial capability etc. We have also seen lot of interest in introductory courses in economics, finance and operations. Courses that help professionals better understand the world that they live in and build perspective.

Why Internet needs to play a strong part in such open courses?

Open courses by very definition are meant for a large audience. Internet plays an important part in increasing reach and reducing incremental expense for every student, and is hence critical to the success of open courses. Its hard to think of open courses being run at any scale in a traditional class room environment.

How can you create a process for great learning experience?

Creating a carefully thought out process is crucial for open courses. Much more time needs to be spent on course design and ensuring that the participants are acquiring the intended skills. This does not happen automatically by recording a really good professor. The process is crucial. A course has to be looked in entirety and assignments, interventions, discussions, evaluation needs to be carefully orchestrated so that the participants gets something real out of it.

How will this impact the macro-education environment?

Open courses in management are tapping into a very clear learning need. However, its still early days and how these will be commercially viable is an open question. I do believe though that if they are adding value to learners, they will find a way to capture that value as well.

I think the biggest impact is cultural. Professionals need to take their growth in their own hands and upgrade themselves constantly. People can’t look to their organization carrying the burden to sill them. There were no real options in the past to do this, but open courses have the potential of being such an option. That is the real paradigm shift here.

Originally Published at : http://sbr.sunstone.in/a-perspective-on-open-courses-in-management/

Author : Rajul Garg(Director Sunstone Business School)