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I was wrong

I’ve made statements late last year to the effect that “corporate MOOCs will be the big trend in 2014″. I was wrong.

Recently, with CorpU and Reda Sadki, I ran an open online conference on corporate MOOCs. We put together a strong line up of presenters and topics and I expected reasonably strong turnout as the topic was timely. While we had a large number of signups, we only had 15-30 people attend each session. The sessions were generally one-way information flow (from the presenter). Attendees appeared to be reluctant to share experiences and views. I’m not sure if this was due to corporate interests in preserving and not sharing information or if we just didn’t hit on the right topics.

The recordings of most sessions are available here (we had a few requests to not record sessions by presenters). Some excellent presentations!

Aside from not having the engagement I was hoping for, I was interested in several points raised during the event:
- Corporate MOOC completion rates are in the 70-80% range
- Coursera is heavily focused on providing branded “turn key” content for corporation training
- Systems like WorldBank are developing MOOCs as an integrated part of their overall online or digital learning strategy
- Several corporations, notably Google and SAP, are deep in the rabbit hole of MOOCs already and are reporting position experiences for both employees and customers who have taken their courses
- Consulting services such as Parthenon are deeply engaged in MOOCs and helping organizations plan for and deploy them.
- The costs of MOOCs are significant in terms of capital and time and effort of people. It’s not as simple a process as many assume when they start.
- Military organizations are exploring MOOCs and alternative teaching/learning approaches and are reporting promising early results. But we can’t tell you everything. It will be declassified in 2050.
- Organizations are primarily using MOOCs for internal learning, marketing, connecting with customers, and “teaching” suppliers.


  1. Thank you very much George. I was one of the ones who signed up but wasn’t able to attend in real time. (Just like a typical MOOC learner…) I appreciate your summary and the open access to the recording.

    I’m intrigued about the Military!


    Tuesday, July 8, 2014 at 5:45 pm | Permalink
  2. Tim Mauri wrote:

    I was able to join for a few sessions, but missed most of it due to – you guessed it – work obligations. I’ll check out some of the recorded sessions. I wouldn’t read too much into the low turnout — it’s hard for people to take 2 days off to attend a live online event. As for attendees sharing experiences and views, sorry I couldn’t join live, but if anyone’s interested in what we’re doing in the MOOC space, there’s a nice write-up here:

    Thursday, July 10, 2014 at 3:37 pm | Permalink
  3. Bob Hails wrote:

    I’ve organized a virtual conference for several years now. My experience has been the same–the actual session attendance doesn’t match the overall registration and it’s hard to generate discussion. The attendance issue I attribute to being easily distracted by work. The discussion issue, I’m not sure. Maybe presenters don’t yet do a good job of working in that environment.

    Thursday, July 17, 2014 at 7:54 pm | Permalink