How Online Courses Help Employee Growth

December 2016

In recent years, online classes have revolutionized the way that distance learning is achieved, offering new opportunities to students and professionals who would like to further their studies. On a high level, these online learning opportunities can be broken down into two main categories: Massive Open Online Courses, or MOOCs, and Small Private Online Courses, or SPOCs.

What are the interests of these private online courses for professionals? How can these classes enhance the skill sets of your employees? Here's all you need to know about this new emerging trend.


MOOCs vs. SPOCs

Although extremely similar, MOOCs and SPOCs vary slightly in regard to audience as well as learning environment.

What is an MOOC?

MOOCs, or massive open online courses, are university-level online courses that are open to the public, allowing for almost an unlimited amount of participation from across the web. These massive open online courses offer their students access to web lectures, online materials, and even some online forums in order to further their academic development.

One drawback to MOOCs is their general lack of learner support. Given the large number of participants, it can be very difficult to get the personal attention needed to succeed in a subject.

What is an SPOC?

SPOCs, or small private online courses, are very similar to MOOCs in that they offer students the opportunity to follow university-level classes online, with access to all necessary materials. SPOCs are particularly adapted to a much smaller audience of around 20-30 participants.

SPOCs for Employee Training

SPOCs are a great way to provide businesses with specialized online training that is specific to a company. Given the manageable size of these courses, professionals are given the opportunity to receive the attention and training they need, regardless of where they are located. This type of training method is highly effective in furthering employee growth and is also useful for companies who are on a tighter budget.

The Benefits of SPOCs

SPOCs offer several benefits over conventional learning methods:


Cost effective: SPOCs can help to reduce costs associated with traveling and accommodation.
Flexible schedules: Classes can be conducted after business hours or during weekends.
Tailored training programs: SPOCs tend to offer strong learning support, and they can be adapted to meet specific training needs.
Certified training programs: SPOCs can confer certificates or diplomas to participants (courses by a certified training organization).
Boost the workforce: Employees from different departments can be trained to fill different roles within the company.

How To Organize an SPOC

If you are interested in organizing your own SPOC, here are a few tips to get started.

First, identify the needs of your business and employees. This includes the type of training program needed, as well as the employees and departments concerned. Ask yourself if there exists the possibility of collaboration between different services.

Next, create your budget. Ask yourself how much you are willing to invest in these online courses and how this investment will make a difference in the long term. How will you reward participants in these online classes? Will you reward them at all?

You should also think about the location of these online classes. In most cases, SPOCs are conducted in real-time. Make sure to provide participants with the necessary resources to follow the training program in the best conditions: a large meeting room, individual screens for video conferencing, documents, educational resources, and other digital tools. You should also provide the time for individual interviews, so that the trainer can assess the progression of each the participants.

Captain SPOC, Open Classrooms, and Coursera are great e-learning sites that can provide you with information and options specifically tailored to your needs.

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