A Corporate Mini-MOOC on Digital Literacy Skills…An Idea Growing in My Head

For a while now, I’ve been teasing out an idea in my mind about rolling out a mini-MOOC in our organisation. After reading Ignatia de Waard’s eBook MOOC Yourself , watching the Google Hangout with Jay Cross and Dave Cormier and completing various MOOCs,  I thought that it was high time to start applying this in the corporate context.

For those who have been reading my blog, you may have noticed my fascination for the MOOC but in particularly, eagerly awaiting if any Australian corporate has created their own for their staff and/or customers.

I want our organisation to be the first – but here’s the rub.  Not an xMOOC but a cMOOCI want the experience to be transformative.  


By Mathieu Plourde {(Mathplourde on Flickr) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Read on, all will be revealed.

The thought has been playing in my head for months now.  My first experience of an xMOOC was Professor Kevin Werbach Gamification Course through Coursera.  Admittedly I recall thinking, “why is this any different from what I’ve seen in the corporate world with LMSes that have similar platforms that can drive video and include social collaboration with discussion boards?”  However, for me, what personalised the experience (unlike corporate online learning) was that the lecturer video taped his presentations in an engaging manner and I looked forward to new material every week.

It was as if he had a relationship with each and every one of us.  We liked Kevin. He seemed to be like a nice bloke who knew his stuff. We respected that.

In my 23 years of being in corporate Learning and Development, I have not seen the ‘content owner’ be the ‘face’ of the online learning itself.

Instead, my experience has been that we use vendors to create online learning using multimedia, animations and snippets of video when are where required – but video has never been the whole focus of the learning program.  Part of me thinks that this is a gap that must be explored and I believe that where I work, video will increase in use over time – and if not overtake much of the content that is designed and developed by external content courseware multimedia developers and designers.

Frankly, I’d much rather listen to a story and watch a subject matter expert in the company talk about how they do their work or dealt with certain organisational scenarios (than be given an opportunity to apply in the workplace) rather than completing an online page turner.

Maybe it’s because I prefer personalisation, context and humans in my learning?

So for video….I would say that “watch this space” for the organisation I’m working for now (certainly I’m leaving time to reflect further on this because this is another area which I’d like to play).


I’d like to think that one day in the near future we can have something like:

  • Corporate Radio Channel – audio podcasts can be uploaded and heard by anyone in the organisation
  • Corporate Live Stream Channel – live streaming of key messages, presentations and events happening in the company in real time 
  • Corporate You-Tube – video platform where anyone can upload video content/podcasts all catalogued and tagged
  • All the above linked to Yammer so that the social collaboration can occur around the content at any time.

These tools are already out there – an open source and free – but we cannot access them.

Along with the tools we already have in place such as webinar and virtual classroom software, Yammer and Sharepoint – and dare I say it, the LMS (even though I’d like to see it put out of its misery) – we would have more than enough to completely open learning up so that people start to learn from each other.

But these are mere fickle thoughts floating around my head at this time.  One thought that has grown hooks and clearly inserted them into my brain is the idea of a CORPORATE MINI-MOOC – and it’s the hub where people learn from each other.

Now when I say MOOC.  I don’t mean the Coursera kind – or the ‘xMOOC’ as it is known because to me, an xMOOC still has a level of formality around it.  I’m talking about the connectivist MOOC – the ‘cMOOC’ which I find, by far, a transformative kind of learning.

The term ‘MOOC for Massive Open Online Course’ is a bit of a misnomer when it comes to corporate learning.  It can’t be “Massive” – because it may only be targeted for employees (or at a stretch, customers?), it can’t be “Open” because it may breach firewall and IT security and privacy, it can be “online” and it is a “course”.

Initially my experience of MOOCs were the Coursera kind and I thought about how they would translate into a corporate environment.  I believe they would translate quite well because the concepts are familiar to learners.  However a key driver of their success  would have to be the learner’s motivation to complete the MOOC and in particularly, if there are workplace assessments to be completed, more of a role of the team leader or manager to play in their employees learning.

Also depending on the platform that is used, it may only be accessible during working hours (we want 24/7, anywhere, anytime!)

So even though an xMOOC can easily be implemented into an organisation (let’s face it, the tools are already here), where it would need guidance and support would be around the key role played by the team leaders and managers to allow time for their learners to complete their MOOC requirements but also to contextualise the learning with some activities,observation, practice and feedback in the workplace.  This is a role where Learning and Development could play a strong part in supporting them.

However, part of me thinks that an xMOOC would be a great place to start to get people comfortable with the idea of this new way of learning – BUT another part of me thinks it’s too easy an option – that it still falls back on the formal learning solution which will then be controlled by Learning and Development – and that’s NOT what I want.

So why not jump in and just go connectivist all the way!   Shock, Horror! Let’s give the control to the learners!

Let the enthusiasm of the crowd influence others to join in and get involved.  They can do it all, they can do some, they can lurk…that’s the beauty of the cMOOC.

So the question in my mind is for my cMOOC is:

“How can we develop a cMOOC for our organisation using internal resources such as people and tools already at our disposal (no additional spend) to increase the digital literacy for our people to be prepared for a future workplace?”

I’ve been fishing around in Yammer University and Yammer Customer Network to see if it has been done – and if so, what platforms were used.


The Question Posed on Yammer….but you can see that this is an xMOOC solution

Yammer 2


And still, it’s an xMOOC solution – cMOOC nowhere in sight!

But as you can see, the responses all relate to an xMOOC solution.  Also it would require the company to buy additional software or platform to launch the various content modules.

How will this cMOOC be structured?

The topics would all have been around Digital Literacy such as:

  • Week 0:  Welcome and Orientation
  • Week 1: Learn How to Learn Online (Using Webex)
  • Week 2: Yammer 
  • Week 3:  Sharepoint 
  • Week 4: Blogging & RSS
  • Week 5: Copyright, Privacy and Digital Security (Netiquette)
  • Week 6: Twitter for Professional Development
  • Week 7: Curating & Social Bookmarking
  • Week 8: etc
  • Week 9: etc….you get the drift…

Each week there will be an outline of various links and references to be read with activities all of which will include reflecting and writing their response in their blogs to be shared with others.

Also there will also be a webinar where subject matter experts in the organisation who can provide their story around the topic matter.

So basically, I want to translate something like the #ETMOOC Educational Technology cMOOC into the corporate context but centred around digital skills that will help them in the future, using people in the organisation.  Peer to peer learning at its best.

You only have to see the success of #ETMOOC and how people are STILL contributing to this Google+ community long after it has been completed.

My goal would be to inspire learners to be more self-motivated in their learning; to give it a go so that they don’t feel left behind and hopefully, re-engage their hearts and minds at work.



And What Of the Platform?

Tough one.

So now my challenge is to think about the platform.  Sharepoint OR Yammer? Both?

I think it’s looking like Sharepoint more and more to create the various weekly activity in the web parts (Resources, Useful Links, Videos etc -as these can be pushed out during working hours) but use Yammer for collaboration 24/7 where I could set up private Yammer Group set up for every week such as “Digital Literacy Week 4 Blogging”  or “Digital Literacy Week 7 Curating” etc.

So these are the thoughts that have been in my mind the last few months.  Now the challenge is to influence my team mates to get involved and structure a plan for the MOOC, seek some support to find some SMEs in the organisation who are role modelling these behaviours and encourage them to be involved in the MOOC.

I’ll keep you posted…

About Helen Blunden

My unique super power is that I see learning experiences in everything I do. #alwayslearning
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14 Responses to A Corporate Mini-MOOC on Digital Literacy Skills…An Idea Growing in My Head

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  5. Thanks Paul much appreciated (and also for reblogging the post). We have access to Vimeo but just for viewing. In one way, we’re quite lucky because we have our own internal ‘YouTube’ channel – meaning we have platform that we can load our video podcasts that sit entirely within our organisation. We also hire out flip cameras to anyone who wants them so that they can take their own footage and support/coach them to use Windows Movie Maker to edit their podcast. However, our team is responsible for formatting these and uploading them onto the video channel. I think there’s more potential to use it more of a channel.

  6. pauldrasmussen says:

    Reblogged this on Organisational Learning and Development and commented:
    I really like this idea of Helen’s, as a lot of you know I struggle with how to utilise 3rd party mooc’s as part of a corporate learning stratagey, however in concept of inhouse style mooc’s I think is a good one.

  7. pauldrasmussen says:

    One of the things we use is Vimeo (rather than youtube) and allow pretty much anyone in the organisation (there is moderation but we try not to moderate too much) to put up video content on things that they are interested in. Not a lot of people utilise it yet, it is still primarily a tool for us (Learning) and some of the of the other corporate services (Finance, HR, IT etc) to put up things but the volume of other user developed content is slowly growing.

  8. Thanks Mattybee, the Moodle platform is a great idea but I’m mindful about additional costs and time to set this up when we already have internal tools that have similar functionality (or we can customise to suit the activities). Also, don’t want to introduce a new system for people to learn – or create questions around my use of other tools as this may delay the implementation and rollout? If we use our internal tools such as Sharepoint and also Yammer, people may be more comfortable with the cMOOC using tools they already know.

    However Moodle has the added benefit of being available 24/7 and this is where our solution will have this limitation. However small steps I guess…

    In all honesty, I hadn’t thought of Moodle but it would be a brilliant tool for this. Thanks for the suggestion. I’ll be updating this blog on how I’m going but I think it will take some time….

  9. Mattybee says:

    Hi Helen. Great idea!, Very interested to see how this develops to meet your need! Have you though about using Moodle to host the cMooc? I used it a number of years ago to host what I guess you could call a mOOC (Mini Open Online Course) open to my L&D department but was taken up by human resources and payroll off their own back. I was able to use the topics within Moodle to setup weekly events, supported by a podcast, and a virtual classroom. The forum was utilised for discussion, as was the a wiki plug in for capturing ideas.

    You could also embed your SME videos as well as link out to Yammer. Curious to see what you end up with 🙂

  10. Hi Helen,
    Certainly sounds like you have your work cut out for you – but you have to start somewhere! Baby steps is a good place to start… you are on the right track. 🙂

  11. Thanks Debbie, much appreciated. Yes it’s going to be something like this…

    Step 1: Explain what a MOOC is….
    Step 2: Encourage them to go and register for an xMOOC or for those confident, a cMOOC…

    Some L&D people aren’t aware of MOOCs (and this was confirmed at EduTech Conference), so it looks like there’s also an awareness approach at the same time. It will make it difficult (in my opinion) as there MAY be a difficulty in understanding the design and development if L&D believe that there must be more structure…hence why I want people outside of L&D to drive the content….

    We’ll see how we go…. thanks for your vote of confidence.

    This may take a while though….

  12. Hi Helen
    Thanks for sharing this terrific idea! I would imagine this would seem radical idea for some employees, but others will likely love it and jump right in, and thus be a model for others. You are truly a champion of change. I look forward to reading more about how it goes! 🙂 Debbie

  13. Thanks Rebekah. I’ve been mulling it over in my mind but I need to get it down in writing. I think this blog post was a way of just capturing my random thoughts. I just have to sit down and make some time to plan and roll it out – and also get people to help me!

  14. HI Helen,

    I think it’s a brilliant idea. I agree having an SME video can make it seem more real to the learners. I will follow your progress with interest.

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