What are Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)?
The desire to advance knowledge, expertise and skills, is observed to be advancing in recent years, and is mainly owing to the modern skills demand required by industries and the workforce at large. In the higher and professional education environment Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) prove to be very beneficial for both students and professionals. Various forms have arose / had arisen from this new method of attaining knowledge. This online teaching facility of various courses makes the process of learning handy for individuals who perhaps would not be able to grasp traditional mode of instructions. The basic idea is to integrate technology with conventional teaching and learning methods.
In the contemporary situation of teaching and learning, it would be challenging to find an individual who is not inclined to employ a method of blended training atmosphere for their learning. Since the initial offering of MOOCs in 2008, the trend of online based training and learning has grown rapidly, thus a paradigm shift was observed in educational, teaching and learning methods.
How are Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) Useful?
The fundamental benefit of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) over conventional learning modes is of being accessible for the whole lot of people that aspire to learn and is open to unlimited number of learners. MOOCs are the modern form of open learning resources. Moreover, a substantial volume of learners is allowed to take part in web-based training through MOOCs. Online platforms are used as studying programs that are dispersed, flexible, reachable, and, most prominently, open to all. When speaking about openness in the educational sphere, it has evolved over the years in different forms such as, open universities to open online courses.
MOOCs are linked with other developments, supporting the potential of lifelong learning by eliminating various blockades in the learning activity. Quite a few observers have corroborated that blended learning has a constructive impact on learning and teaching.
Significance of MOOCs in Pakistan
There has been an increasing trend of MOOCs in the developing nations as well. In Pakistan, despite the restraints like unfortunate infrastructure and low literacy, popularity of MOOCs is on the rise. With the increase in number of software companies and incubation centers, the role of MOOCs generating useful and skillful resources has been pivotal. Public and private sector universities have also endorsed the importance of blended knowledge setups. Universities and workplaces can establish a virtual knowledge platform to enhance the efficiency of students and resources. Implementing innovative strategies at national level it would not only overcome the challenges of illiteracy but it would also help universities in managing popular and industry required courses. As a matter of reference for the policy makers of the country, Jordan has implemented “Edraak” model of MOOCs and many other countries have endorsed different models of MOOCs as a method of online learning.
Massive Open Online Courses and its Linkage with Universities
The capacity of MOOCs has developed in the worldwide education sphere while putting exclusive emphasis on tertiary or professional education opportunities. MOOCs can supplement traditionally instructed knowledge and operate as a complementary resource in achieving the goals of teachers, students and professionals. With the exhausting challenge to make access of higher education cost-effective and largely available, MOOCs have the potential to overcome such a barrier. Furthermore, blending innovation with the conventional teaching methods would pace up the learning process.
In addition to the benefits linked with MOOCs, it would also combat challenges of university increasing dropout rates, supporting queries of every learner and offer collaboration at suitable scale. However, on the contrary, it would be difficult to evaluate the outcomes of every student from the teacher’s point of view. Lack of student participation by online means will an encountering challenge as well.
MOOCs Assisting in Corporate Professional Skill Advancement and Career Development
MOOCs also have the potential in the domain of professional skills enhancement and corporate training, where they have been situated and deployed to boost new industrial skills, techniques and innovative branding and marketing. MOOCs offer a reasonable and compliant way to acquire new skills and progress in your career by implementing those skills. Individuals are using MOOCs for various reasons; lifelong learning, exam preparations, career development and switching career paths.
MOOCs are an outstanding way to obtain an extensive variety of knowledge and skills that might come handy from the job perspective. For career beginners and students in particular, MOOCs are a splendid method to discover new dimensions while an individual is figuring out how to shape its career. Moreover, MOOCs education is proved to be an excellent way to learn targeted skills. Recruiters and Human Resource professionals think positively about a candidate who has various courses, certifications and trainings under his belt. A better portfolio is demonstrated when an individual has completed a certification and acquired a targeted skill set which would be valuable to enter a professional workforce.
In the current job market situation, continual learning and skills development is required for a better career management. MOOCs are helpful to accelerate your career position whilst keeping your knowledge and skills up to date. Work experience on one hand is imperative for career development but honing your skills in a multidimensional way will also land positive on an individual’s portfolio as it demonstrates an urge of industrial advancement and career growth.
Top Eight MOOC Platforms
Learners from Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are increasing. Whereas, there must be a certain criterion for considering a MOOC platform that must be;
- Useful for maximum number of people such as covering courses in major languages.
- Provide a consistent user experience.
- Should be credible so MOOCs are delivered by credible instructors and institutions with accurate knowledge.
- Provide greater course diversity.
- Provide credentials upon completion of an online course.
Some notable MOOC platforms are mentioned below: