Remember when everyone thought the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) would be the future of higher education as we know it? Yeah, that was only 2012. In recent years, the popularity of the MOOC has dramatically decreased. Yet inversely, the number of high profile research institutions that have presented these courses has steadily risen. As eighteen year olds continue to opt for more traditional means of education, there is room for the MOOC to make major waves in the world of corporate training and education.
The Educational Landscape
Unless you live under a rock, you’ve realized that the cost of education has skyrocketed. Graduate and corporate education is no different. The cost of graduate level education has risen three times faster than the rate of inflation over the past 30 years. Much of this has to do with the demand of higher education. As the more people have gone to college, the requirements to enter the middle and higher socioeconomic statuses have also raised. In 2014, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics studied the average weekly earnings based on educational level and found that those with professional degrees had the highest level of pay. There is definitely a need within the labor market. But ways to fulfill that need must change if the cost of graduate level education continues to increase at current rates.
One of my favorite parts about MOOCs is the option to not pay until you are finished with the class. Coursera does this especially well. You can complete an entire course, pass, and still not pay. At any point in the course, you can pay for the certification that can be presented on your LinkedIn and resume. This set incentivizes online courses for employers can strike a deal with the employees to pay for the certification after they passed, meaning that there will never be an unfinished paid class in the employment education programs.
Enriches, but Doesn’t Replace
MOOCs aren’t a great substitute for undergraduate education. The issue is that not many employers view the online courses to have the same amount of applicable information as an in-person class. Only about 30% of employers perceive MOOCs as favorable but consider them to be less of an indication of education level and more as an indication of personal motivation. In short, they are still viewed as courses for fun instead of real applicable learning.
Even though MOOCs are viewed as less reliable, they are still a great substitute in terms of price and accessibility for professionals trying to expand their education. They fall short for those getting hired for the first time, but are the perfect tool for those trying to get a promotion to the next level of their career. I mean, it’s hard to bet against a new technology when Stanford was one of its first backers.