One of the top online course providers, Coursera, holds its annual conference Monday and Tuesday. Coursera offers a long list of mostly free, massive open online courses, or MOOCs.
The latest trend? MOOCs designed for workers to sharpen their skills. Some corporations are now requiring them.
About half of the people taking MOOCs on Coursera are trying to upgrade their job skills. Some corporations have started paying for Coursera’s certificate programs.
MOOCs are especially useful for new fields like analyzing big data for things like credit scoring.
“Since it’s a brand new field, nobody studied it in school," says Rick Levin, CEO of Coursera. "Anybody over 30 never even heard of it when they were in school.”
So, their employer tells them to take a MOOC.
Jeanne Meister is founding partner of the consulting firm Future Workplace. She expects corporations to start demanding more.
“Custom MOOCs to fill particular skill gaps," she says. "That’s where it’s going.”
Meister surveyed 195 HR executives about MOOCs a year and a half ago.
70 percent wanted to use MOOCs for training. But there weren’t enough MOOCs on the subjects they wanted.
Their complaint now? Too many MOOCs to choose from.