MOOCs, COOCs and Hackathons

There are definite fashions in corporate learning. For the past few years, everyone has wanted to learn via a MOOC (massive open online course), where unlimited numbers of learners can take part in an open access course via the web. More recently corporate MOOCs, or COOCs, have become an increasingly popular way of learning within an organisation. Another new trend is to hold a hackathon an event where teams of graphic designers, interface designers and project managers collaborate intensively on projects to get a working prototype for a software application up and running in a very short space of time.

My next series of posts will explore how we have used MOOCs, COOCs and hackathons in my organisation as different ways of learning.

massive open online course

Our new Software Engineer of the Future learning program is key for us because participants learn the latest skills, tools and development methods they need in order to enable our clients to become more digital.

So why did we decide to launch it as a MOOC?

The answer is that if we want engineers to learn these new digital skills we believe they have to experience the learning in a new digital way. And, if we can create that experience for them within their own learning, they can then better understand what our clients are expecting.

The course runs over 10 weeks and encourages self-directed learning and collaboration, which are key skills for the future. Each week a package of ‘bite-sized’ content is released containing videos, documents, reference material and knowledge quizzes. There is also a weekly challenge so that participants can apply what they have learned. The online content is hosted on our University’s Virtual Campus. If a participant misses a week, they can still access the content, but cannot submit the challenge. Yammer is the main tool for collaboration, and we hold regular ‘Yam Jams’ to exchange information and ideas, and to ask questions.

hackathonWhen we evaluated the pilot of our Software Engineer of the Future MOOC, we found it had a completion rate of 26% – in line with industry standards – and 88% of participants said they would recommend the MOOC to their peers.

What was important for us was that the MOOC format enabled large numbers of our software engineers to learn new skills, methods and tools in a flexible way without taking them away from their delivery projects for long periods of time. It was also important that, in learning the new skills and capabilities they need for clients’ digital transformation projects, the program was packaged in a digital way. That way, they were getting both digital content and a digital experience.

Have you experienced a MOOC as a participant or designed your own program? Leave your feedback below.

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