21 December 2015

Five reasons to study a MOOC in 2016

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MOOCs or Massive Open Online Courses have changed the way busy people can continue their education, without having to fit class room lectures into their already busy schedules. MOOC’s allow workers to turn a quiet Saturday afternoon or a peak hour commute into a learning environment, designed to introduce you a new world of academic study.

An example of a MOOC is a website and app called Coursera. Coursera has over 16 million active students, 1,519 available courses and 140 partner institutions around the world.

Distance education is designed to allow committed people to study at their own pace. The MOOC’s themselves are free of charge, although some charge a minimal fee if you want to get an electronic certificate that can be easily added to your LinkedIn profile.

As life gets busier with commitments, family and work, the time people have to study diminishes until it gets put in the “too hard,” or “not enough time,” baskets. MOOC’s and other online education options provide students – no matter their age or education status – with the opportunity to further their careers by picking the topics most relevant to their areas of interest or to help them get started in a whole new direction.

Top Five Reasons to Study a MOOC in 2016:

Time:

As mentioned above life just keeps getting busier. University days when we were 20 were busy enough, but when you reach a certain age and your career is in full swing and you’re struggling to find time for your family, your partner and your friends the idea of study isn’t high on the cards. But it’s when you reach “a certain age,” that you really need to study and refresh your skills the most. MOOC’s or even distant education via traditional Universities allow you to make the most of your down time. Commuting to work takes up a massive chunk of time, so by putting that to use by listening to lectures or in the case of a MOOC watching a video can really pay great dividends.

Never too old to learn:

When you’ve been working for 20 or so years, the idea that you have to continue to study can be unsettling, particularly if you’ve been away from the academic world since your got your first degree. What if I can’t remember how to get good grades? What if I’m too old? What if my brain has gone rusty? MOOC’s in particularly are a good way to test the waters. Most MOOC causes are short courses just a few weeks long and 100% of the course is done online. By undertaking a MOOC you can increase your confidence, learn some new ways of thinking and reignite your interest in study.

Variety:

Have you ever wondered how to write children’s books, or what the mythology of the North can do to influence your negotiating skills? Perhaps you run a small business and want to make it match the international conglomerate of your dreams. Or maybe you’d like to learn more about cloud computing. MOOC’s provide a wide variety of courses with enough topics to keep anyone interested. January you could be studying social media marketing strategy and by March you could have moved onto the History of the Graphic novel. Whatever you’re looking for you’re likely to find it on one of the free MOOC sites and apps available.

Cost:

If you’re a little hesitant to commit to the cost of a Master’s degree or even return to school to get that Bachelor’s degree you didn’t get 20 years ago, MOOC’s are a fantastic alternative, particularly if you want to test the water before committing. Most of the MOOC courses are free of charge to participate and only cost money, ranging from $40 to 100, if you want the electronic certificate to put on your Linkedin account. Not only is the cost of a MOOC excellent, by completing it you chose whether or not to pay for the certificate.

A Whole New World:

If you’re stuck in a rut, doing the same thing day in, day out and you feel like you’re going to be trapped in a dead end job forever a MOOC is a great way to kick start your momentum to bring about change. If you’ve always dreamt of being a project manager but you’re stuck in a call centre answering inbound inquiries relating to customers’ bills a MOOC introducing you to the principles and practices of project management might be just what you’re looking for to motivate you to start getting your ducks in a row. Given the only commitment you have to make is the time it takes to finish the course, it’s a no risk way to see if your dream career is right for you.

MOOC’s are a fantastic way to turn dead time, such as a commute, into a valuable learning experience that could see  you ending 2016 in a much better job, or enjoying your current role more. Getting the most out of a MOOC is up to you. If you register to do one, and then don’t no one is going to come knocking on you door to get you to finish. Online learning, either through a MOOC or an online university platform such as Open University is an adult alternative. If you don’t have the commitment to yourself and your dreams to make your dream a reality it may be better to enrol in a course that requires your weekly attendance. But if you are a motivated self-starter, MOOC’s may be just what you’re looking for.


Mike Cullen has recently returned to Akolade after a period as the conference producer for one of Australia's leading economic think tanks. Mike began working in the conference industry in 2007 after looking for a career change from the high pressured world of inbound customer service. Mike has worked for some of the most well-known conference and media companies in the B2B space and in his spare time is working on his first novel in a planned Epic Fantasy trilogy.


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