When was the last time you studied something to learn a new skill or a concept? If you are already in a job or full-time employment, chances are that you spend very little time learning something new. Whatever learning that happens, happens on a real-time basis, on the job. However, if you are looking to move upward in your career, you need to include continuous learning as part of your lifestyle. Learning need not be done only by attending classes, it can also happen by doing Massive Online Open Courses or MOOCs.
MOOC are available to anyone who has access to the internet. Anyone can join those and learn from the expertise of global thought leaders, professors, top motivational speakers and subject matter experts. A Harvard Business Review of MOOC learners reported that: Over 30% of those surveyed had experienced tangible career improvement as a result of their coursework, with 26% reporting that they had gotten a new job as a result of studying by MOOC. A whopping 85% of respondents said that they had experienced career benefit from having taken one or more MOOCs. Here’s how you can utilize MOOCs to your career advantage:
Identify your learning goal
Like the best public speakers in India had their goal in mind before doing motivational speaking, we all should have one too. While most courses available in MOOCs are free, it is good to know which course you want to learn and why? Just because a MOOC is available for free doesn’t mean that you will not have to spend time and energy doing it. Be clear of what you want to learn, why you want to learn and how the learning will help you in your day to day life. For example, one of the first MOOCs I did was a course from Berklee College of Music in Music Creation.
Have a plan
Many people fail at the enrollment stage only because they don’t have a plan to complete the course. Learning a new course requires attending video tutorials, solving assignments and finishing the reading material. If there is no plan then every week course will get added to your profile, however, actual progress will be very limited. Hence it is important that you define a plan and stick to it to ensure that you finish what you have initiated.
People who are determined to do something, give their all. For example, the famous public speakers in India have committed to the cause of motivating and changing people’s lives through their words and speeches. Most MOOCs will ask for a pre-defined number of hours of daily commitment spread over the duration of the course. For people who are already working, this becomes a challenge and that’s why a lot of people who sign up for these courses don’t complete even the first week of the course. A better approach is to sign up and bring regular discipline. You have the flexibility of time and hours to commit, however, what is important is commitment and discipline.
In most cases, when you have signed up for a MOOC course for free, while you can study the course and do all assignments and finish it – you may not get the certification of the University or Institute from where you did this. Most MOOCs charge a small amount of money for giving certification at the completion of the course. If your objective of learning is only to learn and improve your skills, you can avoid certifications and therefore the fees for the course. However, if your objective is to use these certifications for professional advancement, go for paid MOOCs so that post completion of the course, you are rewarded with a certificate of completion.
Just like you invest some time of your day into motivational speaker videos to give you that much-needed motivation, trying out MOOCs is similar in a lot of ways. If you consider the aforementioned factors and make a prudent decision, doing a MOOC will not only add another feather to your cap but also teach you a number of things like time management and identifying your own capabilities and talents.