It’s all about the MOOCs – realigning disruption with business and industry vision – edited extract from opening address to Churchill Club panel discussion 30 April

Tonight’s forum grew out of one of those conversations at the bar – early last year, before a Churchill Club event. I was debating with Brendan Lewis (Churchill Club Director) whether our education system is turning out a new generation of adults that’s poorly equipped to lead Australia into a productive future.  I don’t feel it’s all doom and gloom – it’s just experiencing massive disruption in a profoundly changing world. But that got me thinking about what is really working, and that got me thinking about the place of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and online delivery. Online delivery now represents great change to education and challenges to old institutions and delivery models, but these come with significant progress in learning and enormous opportunities for business and industry to meet their current and future goals.

This opportunity to come together to talk about MOOCs and online delivery is important because – while they’re evolving all the time – they’re helping bridge the gap between business and workforce needs on the one hand, and what education provides on the other.

As entrepreneurs and innovators, there’s many opportunities for you in this space and a number of you are already leveraging online learning in your own businesses.

We already know that graduates from even highly regarded institutions are struggling to launch their careers or businesses, get into the workforce, or transition between careers.

But having worked a number of years in the tertiary sector helping bring business and education together, I’ve witnessed the great results for business and our workforce when they collaborate through really high quality, well designed, interactive online learning and blended learning.

But there’s no doubt that MOOCs and online learning are the ultimate disruption. They don’t just challenge old institutions and delivery models. They challenge our deepest ideas and values about how we learn and how we should learn.

Education technology businesses, and learning providers are getting a disruptive foothold by competing with traditional colleges and universities for low-cost, more direct paths to employment or PD. What are they doing? They’re identifying what employers need and they’re building that into customised courses which get delivered through online platforms.

But there are risks of falling behind in business opportunities in this space because we’re unsure how to grasp it, or we get the wrong mix of technology and instructional design (or lack of it), the models we choose aren’t fit for purpose, or maybe we’re held back by bad press about ‘substandard training’, ‘non-course completion’, ‘dodgy providers’ and so on.

So, my proposition is simple.

That is, to unpack (bust some myths) and explore the opportunities with a wonderful line up of expert, highly experienced specialists in MOOCs and online learning – they’re highly business focussed and passionate about high quality education and training.

They’ll share their own insights and explore with you how you could harness your entrepreneurial knowhow how you can find the best digital platforms and models that are right for your own PD needs.

Click here to read the Top Ten Takeaways from ‘It’s all about the MOOCs’, prepared by the Churchill Club.