More and better focused postgraduate online learning platforms

From OUR EDITORIAL STAFF we wanted to investigate the current state of online postgraduate training and the role that Business Schools have been playing in this regard in recent years. We have also wanted to analyze what a MOOC is and if they are still valid after a decade has passed since their appearance. And as our readers will see, from the AEEN we closely follow everything that has to do with education and training, but it will be sufficiently clear once again, the importance that the MBA and any other postgraduate course that the Business Schools, end up tilting the balance towards our postgraduate institutions, which also proved to be during the pandemic and in this post-Covid-19 phase, one of the sectors that had best adjusted to the confinement and the resulting economic crisis, putting available a significant amount of training and technological resources that have been available for years.

A MOOC is a massive open online course or open online course intended for unlimited participation and access over the Web


Let’s go to the MOOCs

First of all, let me tell you that a MOOC is a massive open online course or an open online course intended for unlimited participation and access through the Web.

For better understanding, we are going to highlight some of the benefits that its defenders give, for example:

– Bridge the knowledge gap.

– Saving time and comfort.

– Lands the theory to the reality of SMEs.

– Increase your network of contacts.

– Show off your flexibility.

– They are suitable for everyone.

– It is a dynamic knowledge.

MOOC is the acronym in English for Massive Online Open Courses (or Massive and Open Online Courses) it is a distance course, accessible via the internet that anyone can sign up for and has no limit of participants.

In addition to traditional course materials such as videos, lectures, and quizzes, MOOCs provide interactive User Forums that help build a community for students, teachers, and teaching assistants.

It has been the business schools themselves during the pandemic that made a gigantic effort so that the training that was scheduled was fulfilled and everyone adapted to the online methodology


Brief history

David Wiley can be considered the author of the first conceptual MOOC, launched at the University of Utah in August 2007. It was an open education course. This initiative was continued in numerous projects promoted by different university centers inside and outside the United States.

A milestone in the history of MOOCs dates back to the fall of 2011 when more than 160,000 people enrolled in an artificial intelligence course offered by Sebastian Thrun and Peter Norvig at Stanford University through a startup called Know Labs (now Udacity).

Given the success and the high number of enrollments, Daphne Koller and Andrew Ng created Coursera. Based on technology developed at Stanford, Coursera has gradually become a platform supported by numerous prestigious universities (Yale, Princeton, Michigan, Penn). For its part, on the East Coast, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology launched MITx, in an effort to provide a free and open platform for online education. Shortly after, Harvard joined this initiative, renamed edx, to which other universities such as Berkeley have joined.

Since then, many other platforms have emerged, such as FutureLearn or MiríadaX, to name a few examples.

MOOCs face the challenge of the new generation of course providers

Digital learning platforms increasingly see advantages in smaller, more focused programs

Eleven years after that summer of 2011 with the Stanford University course, most people contemplating an MBA are aware of massive open online courses, or MOOCs, and their providers. Stanford’s first classes spawned businesses like Udacity, which now has 14 million users, and Coursera, which was valued at $4.3 billion at its 2021 IPO.

79% of employers now think online learning will be standard for professional development, while more than a third of employees would consider an online MBA over the face-to-face versión


Udacity is a for-profit educational organization founded by Sebastian Thrun, David Stavens, and Mike Sokolsky that offers massive open online courses. (MOOC’s). According to Thrun, the origin of the name Udacity stems from the company’s desire to be “bold for you, the student.”

Coursera Inc. is a US-based massive provider of open online courses founded in 2012 by Stanford University computer science professors Andrew Ng and Daphne Koller.

In the case of the Cornerstone platform, since its inception more than 20 years ago, they have developed solutions that help people train and grow at work.

However, the world, people’s expectations and the way people work in organizations have changed.

That is why they have gathered all their experience and knowledge, as well as the spirit of innovation and are channeling it towards a single objective: to help talented leaders create a work environment that inspires everyone to grow, be productive and achieve success. success.

Cornerstone guides organizations through an exciting process to transform their approach to the workforce. The key to this transformation is equipping people to take control of their own personal and professional development, reach their full potential, and deliver breakthrough results to their organizations.

The schools themselves have bothered to improve the interaction between students and teachers and between students with their online platforms, feeding them with a series of tools and meeting points for learning


The rivalry with the MBAs

These purely digital providers allow students to choose cheaper online courses instead of an expensive college degree or MBA from Business School, or take any number of more specialized short courses online. In short, based on the interest of these platforms in response also to the convenience of organizations, business education has been freed from traditional Business Schools, a development given an additional boost by the coronavirus pandemic, which normalized learning and remote work. Yes, this is true, as it has also been the Business Schools themselves during the pandemic that made a gigantic effort so that the training that was scheduled was fulfilled and everyone adapted to the online methodology.

According to Carrington Crisp, an education consultancy, 79% of employers now think online learning will be standard for professional development, while more than a third of employees would consider an online MBA over the face-to-face version. It is obvious that no one doubts the effectiveness of face-to-face training due to the interaction it represents, despite the fact that the schools themselves have bothered to improve the interaction between students and teachers and between students and their online platforms, feeding them with a series of tools and meeting points for learning.

And with the job market currently tight as a result of the health crisis, workers are rethinking what they demand of their careers and skills, forcing online course providers to offer more. And this is as true for MOCCs as it is for schools.

Andy Hancock, the new CEO of the FutureLearn platform, says there is an “opportunity” for online course providers as prospective students look beyond MBAs as a vehicle to gain business insights. But Moocs will only be able to understand this if they make sure that what they offer aligns with sound pedagogical principles.

“Moocs need to step up,” says Hancock. “As a sector, to be sustainable, we need to do more . The evolution of Moocs is all about retaining engagement and lifelong learning, and being the platform of choice.”

As student demand grows, large-scale course providers are competing with startups that claim they can offer more targeted and customized solutions.

Those who think that MOOCS are dead

“I think Moocs are dead,” says Tom Adams, CEO and co-founder of the Quantic School of Business and Technology, which bills its offerings as more interactive and group-based than courses taken by thousands of people at once. “They are the zombies of the industry,” says Adams. The Quantic School of Business and Technology, or simply Quantic, is a Business School based in Washington D.C.

He says large-scale online business courses simply move conferences online, doing nothing to add interactivity or teamwork.

As a result, he argues, they fail to engage students. “Imagine I design a curriculum that has hundreds of hours of passive video conferencing,” he says. “Do you think people can watch them and not give up?”

The Quantic School is among the training companies competing with larger-scale online providers in a lucrative US market.

The company says its goal is to “democratize world-class business education” with an accelerated 13-month program of study and classes of 150 to 200 students who collaborate on case studies, group projects and events.

Some of these take place virtually, others in person. Instead of watching filmed didactic lectures, students participate in interactive activities and small modules with regular feedback, Adams explains.

“We learn when we are challenged, we get feedback, we discuss different beliefs; it’s a very learn-by-doing approach. Pedagogy is fundamentally what we do”.

Entrepreneur Elspeth Briscoe also believes that more boutique and active courses are the future of lifelong professional development in business and beyond.

One of the current needs of companies is to retain talent and seek to empower those employees who have great potential. Online training is an appropriate tool and business schools are the ones that can best offer well-structured learning and practical application of knowledge


Her company, Learning with Experts, pairs students who take her courses online so they can provide each other with feedback and support.

“One of the things that is in the DNA of our company, that is not in Moocs, is an absolute obsession with user experience,” she says. “It is important that people interact. It is a discursive environment.

After initially selling directly to consumers, Learning with Experts is now growing its revenue through partnerships with businesses and government agencies that want to upskill workers. Courses range from gardening with the UK’s Royal Horticultural Society to start-up funding, which is funded by the EU Regional Development Fund and has reached 1,000 small businesses in Cornwall.

“It’s a really important area and a big gap in the market, with the UK government’s leveling policy and SMEs improving,” she says. “I think what we’re doing is genuinely different.”

Adams also believes that these types of courses – targeted, short, and interactive, with both online and offline elements – can complement more traditional business education rather than eliminate it. University degrees, for example, remain a rite of passage.

“We’re not trying to destroy anything, we’re partnering with universities,” she emphasizes. “Our sense is that students want access to quality learning in many ways.”

Mark Thomas, associate dean of international graduate programs at Grenoble Ecole de Management, says the big online courses are still perfectly good for learning specific skills, like baking cupcakes, which he learned how to do through YouTube, though not to a level land you a job at a Michelin star restaurant.

“It opens up education,” says Thomas. “But it’s richer, deeper and more rewarding when you can have deeper face-to-face interaction.”

During the lockdown, Grenoble spent €1.5 million on a system called HyFlex, which enables face-to-face teaching in the classroom while some students watch and participate at home. This allowed the school to adapt to the Covid rules in France that required only half of the students to be in the classroom at any given time.

But while Thomas appreciates the flexibility the system provides, it creates some dilemmas as students apply for remote work, even if, in his opinion, they would thrive better in the college atmosphere of the classroom.

He believes that university staff, for a century, have viewed distance learning, whether in the form of correspondence courses in the 1920s or online courses today, as a “monster under the bed” that could replace face-to-face teaching entirely. Historically, these fears have proven largely unfounded, and Thomas believes they will continue to be.

“If anything, the pandemic has told us how much we like being with people and how important it is,” he says.

This information has been prepared by OUR EDITORIAL STAFF