Here is a way we can better engage with local employers through taking the best of what e-learning can do with the best of free, yet targeted Mini MOOCs.
A Mini MOOC is of course an oxymoron. These aren’t massive (necessarily) and they aren’t public (necessarily) but they are the same kind of new approach to having learners engage with what college a collectively knows and the expertise that sits in the content section of the courses teachers run for the benefit of the learner initially but in the hope of developing a relationship with learners who then enrol as a result and then developing a reputation with employers and others for the quality of it’s expertise.
FELTAG looks to colleges to become the training departments of local employers. This could include have them rent space on college VLEs and ILPs and e-portfolios and join social learning groups. Apart from ‘hosting’ training, teachers can provide the curriculum design expertise and offer assessment services as well as general tutoring and access to college libraries etc. for local employees.
But colleges, like universities are sitting on the accumulated knowledge of its teaching staff and e-learning is particularly good at supporting cognitive domain learning, so the time is right for colleges and other providers to start moving a great local asset (what they collectively know) on-line in order to support training around, and engage with the world of work.
Another way to describe this as seeing colleges and others delivering learning that is taught, caught and acquired. With a miniMOOC, what is taught is put on-line, encouraging learners to come to college to work with others on what is caught and acquired in preparing for the world of work. This is an extension of flipped learning of course. MiniMOOCs sit between Distance Learning and Blended Learning with elements of both yet very different.
But rather than open up all we know to the world, miniMOOCs allow the harnessing of knowledge in support of learning and development and act as a huge advertisement of what and who colleges are. In short, mini MOOCs offer what we know but in a structured form to allow learners to explore it in a non-chaotic way.
So MiniMOOCS are taylor-made learning episodes consisting of cognitive learning objects, that can be singular or strung together (perhaps like beads on a string of learning activity) in short course format that provides basic skill knowledge or basic practice or contain something a college is very good at.
This is such an important development that every course leader should be looking at putting ‘knowledge’ on-line to advertise their course, target it to local employers and beyond to showcase the college and develop a reputation with employers.