Are MOOCs good option for corporate learning?

MOOCThis question came up in recent discussion as I was interacting with one of my colleagues at work who is toying with an idea of designing and delivering training offerings based on concept of Massive Open Online Courses or MOOCs. In case you are wondering, what exactly are MOOCs? These are free online courses offered by institutions with an unlimited capacity for learner registration. When these were introduced few years ago, MOOCs revolutionized the world of education as some people were of the opinion that these may eventually make the traditional institutions irrelevant and obsolete. Many large universities such as MIT and Harvard jumped on the ship to make MOOC’s available as one of their offerings.

The question we are trying to answer here is, if we are well aware of the benefits and challenges of MOOC’s and are these good option for corporate learning?

Let’s start with challenges related to MOOCs first. The biggest challenge seen with MOOCs is the continuous engagement and commitment towards completing MOOCs. Concept of MOOC is very inviting to students since it’s a free learning opportunity. As the cost of education is rising, more and more students are getting attracted towards MOOCs. At the same time, since it’s completely free with no accountability towards completing it, most of the students although registering for it, never actually complete it. Some even start the courses and then leave them in between. The universities surveyed for assessing completion rate on MOOCs reported that it is less than 10 percent.

As we all know, that measuring success of training programs using completion rate, is not the key measure, although it is used as one of the performance indicators. The key objective is to have training and learning stick to employees and result in actual learning and improvement of skills. The question is how to achieve that goal and if MOOCs are right tool for that? Are there approaches to make MOOCs appealing and engaging to employees to be able to use as a tool which actually contributes toward their development. Let’s look at ways to address this challenge and how MOOCs can contribute as one of the key components towards this goal.

One of the ways MOOCs can be made appealing is to move away from completion based approach which forces employees to complete the MOOCs and not really helping with creating interest and engagement. Instead educate and guide employees on skills they need to excel in their jobs and how MOOCs can benefit them. Let them use MOOCs to their advantage on how they want to pick and choose the MOOC content to meet their objective. MOOCs can also be made engaging and fun by integrating them in employee’s everyday schedule and making them available on their mobile devices. We know most of the employees are tied to their mobile devices and availability of MOOCs on their mobile experience could enhance the overall experience and provides better engagement.

Another strategy which has brought tremendous success is integrating MOOC’s experience with gamification approach and delivering better engaging experience, which can be accessed both on desktops and mobile devices. For instance – Use MOOC’s purely as learning vehicle and add assessments and certifications to it for employee’s to measure and demonstrate enhancement to their skillset. Vendors can issue certifications for every MOOC program completed, which can be tracked and measure. And we can do more; For every assessment/certification completed by an employee, reward them with badges which can be shared on social networking sites as well as internal employee sites encouraging competitiveness and engagement.

How about for-profit organizations? Can they use MOOCs for making money? Yes, it is possible. While MOOCs are free, the associated certifications which demonstrate attainment of certain skills can be paid. Organizations can use MOOCs to sell more certifications. MOOCs can be used to introduce and cross-sell/up-sell paid resources such as onsite classes, hands-on labs, etc. Some institutions also offer in-person version of some of the MOOCs courses which are paid.

The good news is that when MOOC’s are used as a critical component for overall package and strategy with needed structure around it, it can be successful and learning leaders such as CLO’s or L&D leaders can easily quantify the engagement and value delivered in terms of certifications and badges completed and skills enhanced. And for-profit organizations can also demonstrate monetary value MOOCs can bring to their business.

Author: Praveen Khurana (#PraveenKhurana)
Praveen Khurana is a learning technology leader in learning management and human capital systems. He has 18+ years of experience in this industry and has consulted with and has implemented learning, talent and knowledge management systems for many fortune 500 companies.

For Profit – External Training

External_Training_ProfitWe all have heard about ‘For Profit’ education and the key concept of this type of training is to have enough revenue to not only use the public funds to finance all of the business operations, but also maximize profit for the business.  For profit education spans multiple domains, from educational institutions delivering K-12 education to higher level school education, professional training institute to corporate level career education. In this article we are going to focus on the later domain where we are going to talk about the key components of ‘for-profit’ corporate level professional and career education.

Most of the corporate organizations have either centralized education services departments with the name XYZ University or XYZ Global Education Services and their main objective is to deliver training not just for internal employees for enablement and compliance but to train their customers and partners as well and collect revenue from it and hence the name ‘External’ or ‘For Profit’ training. Business objective of these departments is to maximize the training revenue by training their customers and partners (Better trained and informed customers is the most satisfied customer) which in turn results in selling more products (and training). In order to succeed in their business objective, these departments need solid infrastructure in terms of tools and technologies and that is where very robust, flexible, start of the art, easy to use and configurable learning platforms play a huge role. We are going to talk about the key components of such platform to make external training business successful.

What are the key components which are required to make external training successful? Let us look at the key features which pretty much apply to most of the businesses these days.

Easy to use User Interface: Any application or tool which is customer or end-user facing needs to be truly exceptional when it comes to serving the needs of the customers. It needs to be simple, intuitive and to be able to deliver desired results in no-time and with minimal number of clicks. Not just it needs to be user action oriented, but it also has to be intelligent and personalized to be able to recommend and prescribe trainings.

Configurability: This is another key area where most of the platform vendors are focusing on these days. Gone are the days where the applications were customized inside the firewall by the development teams. These days many of the platforms are available on cloud and as SaaS service. The configurability of the platforms is key to be able to successfully launch the tools and easily adapt within the target audience community. Plus the cost of ownership also stays low.

Training Delivery Methods: The platform needs to be able to offer standard training delivery modes of Instructor-Led, Online/Self-Paced, virtual Instructor-Led, etc.

Bundling and Packaging Ability: Complex businesses and use cases often demand complex and flexible offering structures. If the platform offers capability to construct flexible training offerings, it gives huge advantage to the business and gives ability to meet complex business demands. Any course or content can be packaged or bundled with various paths and/or rules with flexible pricing models, meeting demands of multiple use cases in various countries.

Multiple Payment Methods and Credit Card Integration: Since we are talking about the commercial business, training platforms need to be able to offer flexibility in payment methods and integration with all popular payment platforms.

Discounting and Promotions: Every commercial business also demands multiple options for delivering promotions and discounting models. It could be X% (or X amount) off certain group of trainings in certain period OR Y% (or Y amount) discount to certain audience group or market segment. It could also be promotion on new training products for certain period.

Training Units or Virtual Currency: Many times big training businesses when dealing with other big customers want to sell training retainers (similar to gift card kind of model), hence creating a training delivery pipeline which can be realized in upcoming period, typically valid for 1-2 years. Education business may sell set of training units equivalent to dollar amount which customer can use for purchasing training services as and when needed.

Subscription Models: Some businesses operate on all-you-can-eat buffet kind of model for their training business. They sell yearly subscriptions to their customers for the set of training offerings they have and then it is upto customers how they take advantage of the subscription service they have bought.

Mobile and Connected Training (on the go): Past few years have seen the trend of making training available on the mobile device. This is very helpful for the sales kind of people who can access training anytime and anywhere as they travel to their customer sites. With advancement in mobile platforms such as tablets and smartphones, this has become much easier. Learning platform which easily integrate and deliver seamless experience across devices, but still keeping the user connected to the content (along with their progress) are hot these days.

Social platform Integrations: For the learning platforms which are able to deliver the training, but are not providing social platform interface are missing big time on user engagement and informal learning experience. User’s today demand that they should be able to collaborate with their peers and industry experts. This is becoming one of the selection criteria for the learning platform vendors.

Managing delivery operations: Among all the features listed here, this is one of the key features of the learning platform. To run any business, you need to be able to manage and administer your operations. Starting from creating the content, listing out classes for enrollment, management of resources to deliver the classes and content, administering the learner experience pre and post classes, etc. is part of operations and there needs to be solid administrative foundation part of the platform to support running the business.

P&L Analysis with reporting: Finally, when you run the business, wouldn’t you like to analyze the total cost and revenue to see if the business you are investing in and how you are running it is resulting in profit or loss. Commercial learning platforms need to be able to provide reports and analytics for the operations team to give needed business visibility. Also businesses demand that it should also be integrated with corporate reporting systems for the same purpose.


Author: Praveen Khurana
Praveen Khurana is a learning technology leader in learning management and human capital systems. He has 18+ years of experience in this industry and has consulted with and has implemented learning, talent and knowledge management systems for many fortune 500 companies.

Sales Enablement with Sales Training

13862858524_a6353f6508_zSales Enablement – Does every learning and education professionals know what this is or what it means? Sales training is getting popular in most organizations but is that same as sales enablement? Not every learning professional knows that sales training is just one component of the enablement and there is lot more to enablement than just training. There are still lot of organizations where ‘Sales Enablement’ function doesn’t even exist and enablement of sales is carried out by other functions such as sales operations, go-to-market (GTM) operations, marketing operations, or even HR.

What is Sales Enablement though? The short way to describe it is… “Activities or efforts carried out to ensure that sales professions are competent and ready to sell.” It is not a onetime effort, it is a continuous and ongoing process to optimize and fine tune revenue generation capabilities.

Where sales enablement and sales training overlap and is same or different? Sales training is one key component of sales enablement. Sales training focus is on onboarding training, providing product/solutions training, process training, soft-skill training and compliance training. Whereas sales enablement goes way beyond training and also encompasses processes and tools for continuous field communication (this is especially critical since most of the sales force is in field), cross-functional collaboration (e.g. collaboration with marketing and engineering for pre-sales), ongoing learning (continuous on-demand and just-in-time content delivery for the sales reps in the field covering topics from policies/procedures to howto’s to new product features) and post sales engagement with customers for customer loyalty and cross-sell/up-sell opportunities.

The most common tools used for both sales enablement and sales training (which sometimes blurs the line between enablement and training) are quality video content with its on-demand delivery and collaboration tools for buddy learning. Video content technology has become quite advanced and there are many vendors providing advanced services in this area. Organizations can build quality content/videos once for different aspects of their business including Product/Solutions features and installation, Compliance training certifications, Policies and procedures, Selling strategies, etc. and deliver as just-in-time methods. This enables the field to access what they need and when they need it. Similarly enterprise collaboration tools allow sales force to stay connected with their peers or with other functions and learn from each other when they need and how they need.

Do you still think sales enablement and sales training are same thing? 

Author: Praveen Khurana
Praveen Khurana is a learning technology leader in learning management and human capital systems. He has 18+ years of experience in this industry and has consulted with and has implemented learning, talent and knowledge management systems for many fortune 500 companies.

photo by Rajesh

Mobile Learning – Bridging Generation Gaps

iPhone-iPad-EBHave you ever come across this generic question from the learning organizations or your business stakeholders, i.e. Can you support learning on mobile devices since that is the primary way we want the training to be delivered? What exactly is wrong with this question?

What is wrong here is not the desire to have learning available on mobile devices or focusing ‘just on the device’, but also the absence of the strategy on how to build and offer the training to blend multigenerational workforce. The learning needs to reconcile and shape up learning to meet various learning styles and taste.

Mobile learning needs to span and support multiple generations from digital immigrants (i.e. baby boomers) to digital natives (born in last 20-25 years). The effective way to bridge the gap and blend it effectively is to use mobile learning as supplementary training to meet just in time need and not as the primary training tool. Mobile programs need to be built to engage the workforce, to make it useful within the day to day work and effective in a way to create want for them instead of pushing it to the employees.

Using training as an ongoing support tool and accelerant helps pretty much all generations to meet their learning needs. For an employee who has gone through traditional training course can use it as post- training support to refer to concepts as they start applying the training in their work life. For the new generation, who is looking for just-in-time training content to either learn ‘How-to’ or ‘solve a specific problem’ can search and access the specific nugget of content on their mobile device accordingly. Sales organizations can build online games around competitive nature of the business and ask employees to solve a specific problem or excel in particular knowledge area for their success in the field and hence mastering those skills. This creates inherent want for the successful people to do better and the gaming aspect creates the engagement and interest.

The key for success is to keep the old concepts and fundamentals of L&D in the back burner and focus on new way of thinking about developing training programs. The content needs to be designed such that the training offered through mobile experience meets immediate needs, is of smaller size to make quick impact and integrates seamlessly in the workflow. When designing such training, focus on the design principles of keeping the user experience at the top, and building smaller bite size content and make it available ‘just-in-time’. This helps to meet needs of multiple generations and positions mobile learning as a tool which becomes necessary to get job done and hence automatically creates the motivation.

Author: Praveen Khurana

Praveen Khurana is a learning technology leader in learning management and human capital systems. He has 18+ years of experience in this industry and has consulted with and has implemented learning, talent and knowledge management systems for many fortune 500 companies.

New Features Timeline – 2014



2014 is behind us and it was an year in which we continued our platform growth. EduBrite LMS grew by direct feedback from very engaged customers. We kept our eyes and ears open to see and listen to their genuine needs rather than what some experts may be saying. Let’s look at our important milestones in 2014.

Read more –



Test Authoring and Delivery – EduBrite Education Webinar

In last week’s webinar, we discussed about test authoring and delivery. In this webinar covered various how quizzes/tests or surveys can be created using EduBrite’s WISYWIG test editor? Thanks to all participants who were able to join us. We discussed following items in detail:

  • Questions formats – Multiple choice, Fill in the blank, Yes/No, Essay, Grid Type etc.
  • Various Test properties including
    • Create question bank
    • Re-using questions from existing tests
    • Inserting images, audio, video
    • Inserting mathematical and Scientific symbols
    • Gradient scoring, negative marking
    • Adding passage, solution
    • Adding metadata at question or test level
    • Randomize questions, choices
    • Competency-based test, exams
    • Various UI options
    • Categorizing questions into sections
    • Limiting time based on sections
    • Essay evaluation
    • Random selection of questions from question bank
  • Test delivery : informal (Practice tests); Formal inside an exam, exam management. Quizzes inside the course were covered in previous course authoring and course delivery webinars.
  • Proctored Exam
  • Multi Source feedback (360 degree feedback)

Recording of the session is now available at Webinar Channel in EduBrite Support portal. We will announce next round of webinar soon. Stay tuned.

EduBrite LMS Microsite administration

Microsite administration was the topic of last week’s webinar. In this webinar covered most common activities a LMS administrator typically performs. Thanks to all participants who were able to join us. We discussed following items:

  • User Management : User Creation (individual, bulk), User roles, User assignment to group(s)
  • Group Management : Group Creation, Type of Groups (open, private, etc.), group roles, group settings, collaboration
  • Site administration : Configure features, security, menu, metadata, payment integration
  • Others : E-mail settings, proxy login

Recording of the session is now available at Webinar Channel in EduBrite Support portal.

Our next webinar “Test Authoring and Delivery” is on Wednesday Sep 24 at 10 am pacific (UTC-7). In this webinar, we will cover:

  • Test / Survey creation
  • Questions formats – Multiple choice, Fill in the blank, Yes/No, Essay, Grid Type etc.
  • Test properties : Basic and advance
  • Test delivery : informal (Practice tests); Formal inside course or as an exam
  • Reporting

Register here for next webinar. From last week online webinars are being delivered directly from EduBrite LMS. For more details on how to register and join, watch a mini video?


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