8 Insider Secrets To Find, Evaluate, And Incorporate MOOCs In Online Training

8 Insider Secrets To Find, Evaluate, And Incorporate MOOCs In Online Training
Summary: How do you know which MOOC is a good fit for your online training strategy? In this article, I share 8 insider secrets to find, evaluate, and incorporate MOOCs into your online training program.

How To Select And Implement MOOCs In Online Training

Massive open online courses are readily available to the public. While some still rely on a free-of-charge model, others follow a fee-based strategy. Regardless of their price point, MOOCs involve an investment. You must take the time to research the options and incorporate them into your online training strategy. Then budget for supplementary online training activities and seat time. But how do you choose the best corporate MOOC for your online training objectives? How do you evaluate the content, vendor, and course structure to ensure that it aligns with your employees’ preferences and brand image? Here are 8 secrets to select, vet, and implement MOOCs in online training.

8 Tried And Tested Tips To Leverage MOOCs For L&D

1. Clarify Learning Goals And Knowledge Gaps To Streamline Your Search Efforts

You need a starting point. Namely, learning goals and objectives, as well as knowledge gaps that will help guide your search efforts so that you can find the ideal MOOCs for your online training program. You should also meet with your team to get their recommendations and disclose hidden pain points. For example, departmental gaps that can be remedied by the right MOOC. On-the-job observations, online surveys, and assessments are other great ways to determine what you need from a prospective MOOC.

2. Dedicated MOOC Platform Vs. Targeted Keyword Research

There are generally two ways to approach the hunt for MOOCs in online training. You can either focus on MOOC platforms/catalogs that are offered by specific organizations. Or you can opt for a targeted keyword search to cast the net wide. However, both routes still require you to know your audience and the training gaps in your current online training strategy. For example, a training needs analysis reveals that your employees need to hone their communication skills. As such, you can focus on MOOCs that cater to your niche, the required skill set, and/or the name of the university.

3. Verify Course Prerequisites

Many MOOCs have specific requirements that corporate learners must meet before attending the course. For instance, they must already possess some sales experience. Or have already completed the 101 course before signing up for the advanced course. In some cases, they may even have to take an entry exam to verify that they have met all the criteria. Therefore, you need to look for a MOOC that aligns with the experience level and background of your team.

4. Explore The Infrastructure, Support, And Tech Elements Firsthand

Sign up for the MOOCs on your shortlist and explore the features for yourself. How well is the course designed? Is the layout user-friendly? Are there plenty of interactive elements to keep your employees engaged? This also gives you the opportunity to evaluate their support options. For instance, do they have an active user community? Are you able to reach out to the institution if you encounter a problem? Do they at least have an online FAQ or a library to help you troubleshoot known issues?

5. Evaluate The MOOC Provider

The institution/organization offering the MOOC should stand behind their ‘product.’ Before incorporating MOOCs in online training, you should vet them just as you would any other eLearning content provider. Look up online reviews. Ask about their reputation in online discussions and social media groups. Reach out to them directly to ask questions and see how they respond. Are they happy to address your questions in a professional manner? How quickly do they reply? Another thing to consider is their credentials. Is the course accredited? Will employees receive credit that carries over if they choose to pursue more online education?

6. Weigh The Costs Involved

Certain MOOCs are free, while others involve a fee. In the case of fee-based options, determine whether the course is truly cost-effective. Or if it might be best to develop a similar course in-house. If it’s free, there are still other expenses to bear in mind. Such as developing supplemental online training activities or devoting payroll hours to online training seat time. For example, it will take time for employees to familiarize themselves with the new MOOC platform or course design. In addition, evaluate their pricing models to verify whether they charge per-course or on a subscription basis.

7. Give Employees The Power To Develop A Personalized MOOC Plan

One of the best ways to incorporate MOOCs in online training is to empower employees and allow them to create individualized online training paths. They can choose from the catalog of MOOCs that you’ve compiled and develop their own plan. They should also set goals based on their personal areas for improvement. It may be wise to conduct pre-assessments to identify strengths and shortcomings so that they can pick-and-choose suitable MOOCs.

8. Follow Up With Skill And Task Mastery Qualitative Assessments/Activities

Certain MOOCs offer the complete package. They include everything from pop quizzes and simulations to infographics that offer "moment of need" support. However, there are others that only offer the basics. In which case, you need to follow up with your own online training activities and assessments to track skill and task mastery. For instance, supplemental branching scenarios and serious games that help employees apply the persuasion and negotiation skills they just learned. There must also be some support system in place. Like peer coaching or social media groups for those who need additional assistance. Or even just a place to share their experiences with the MOOC and look up related resources.


Not every training topic lends itself to a MOOC-based strategy. However, there’s certainly no shortage of MOOCs to choose from. The key is to not rely solely on MOOCs to achieve your online training objectives. It’s crucial to supplement online training with assessments, activities, and "moment of need" resources to personalize the process. This can help you avoid some of the drawbacks of incorporating MOOCs in online training and ensure that your employees get the individualized support they require.

Where do you start your MOOC search? Use our course marketplace directory to find the best online training content for your remote workforce. You can even evaluate vendor ratings and reviews to get top value for money.