If we lived in the old days, each person would only have one trade to their name. You chose a profession and it defined you: blacksmith, fisherman, farmer, cobbler, etc. You would never meet a farmer who was also learning to become a cobbler or a blacksmith who was also studying a digital marketing degree (especially since digital marketing is quite a new field). They simply did not have the time or resources. With technological advancements today, we have the opportunity to learn and develop a whole plethora of skills for the rest of our lives and not only are we eager to learn more things, some companies require us to diversify our skills. Thanks to Massive Open Online Courses ( or MOOC), anyone anywhere can pursue an education in whatever subject they desire. You could be a scientist who is also studying for a Degree in Business Administration or a marketing manager who wants to study a new language. You can even hold down a job but continue to develop your knowledge in various domains.
Whatever the reason you want to better yourself, MOOCs will give you the opportunity and the resources as long as you have the will. And with e-learning and remote courses helping students retain up to five times more knowledge, more and more people are embracing the trend.
What Are MOOCs?
So before we can determine how a MOOC helps with job prospects, some of you are probably wondering just what this type of course actually is. Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) first appeared in 2008. And by 2012, they quickly emerged as a new favorite way of learning. Top academic institutions all over the world were ready to break beyond the barriers of traditional learning so that more people have the opportunity to learn, regardless of their background or busy schedules. In a way, when we consider how almost all educational institutions have adapted to the online format due to the COVID-19, MOOCs were really ahead of their time.
MOOCs consist of videotaped lectures, seminars, case studies, and also interactive outlets like forums and social media to promote interaction between students and faculty members. Unlike traditional online courses, MOOCs are massive, free, and credit-less. As long as you have an internet connection, you can enroll in a MOOC.
Benefits of MOOCs
MOOCs offer a multitude of benefits, which is why they are so popular. In 2012, the nonprofit startup from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard, edX, already had 370,000 students signing up for its first official courses during its initial launch. In fact, it grew to over 1.7 million students by the end of the year.
Here are some of the great benefits of MOOCs:
1. Learn a new trade or sharpen old skills
The profession you are currently practising may not be what you really want to do in life. After high school, we were only given that small window of opportunity to decide what we want to do for the rest of our lives. With what little knowledge or wisdom we had at the time, we might have chosen a path that seemed perfect then but is not what we ultimately want in life.
You know this now, but it can be challenging to actually start over and choose a new path. By enrolling in a MOOC, you don’t have the same pressure of a yearly enrollment in a university or school. Doing this will not only benefit you but also create new and possibly even better job prospects moving forward. Companies love hiring employees who are hard-working and can do more than is expected of them. It also shows an openness for new technology and opportunities.
And as for you, you get to develop a bunch of new skills and find something that you’re destined to do. Let yourself be drawn to your true interests (“Always remember: the universe has a way of leading you to where you’re supposed to be, at the moment you’re supposed to be there.” – Agent Hi T).
2. Career advancement
If you feel stuck in your career, MOOCs are a great way to help you advance. Just by enrolling in a course, you demonstrate your willingness to learn and other capabilities that are fit for a managerial or supervisor role. And once you graduate, you will also have the necessary skill set to qualify for career advancement whether it is in your current role or a new career path altogether. When you show your current or future employer just how much you can bring to the table, there’s only one way to go and it’s up (“One day your’re making fifty bucks, then five thousand, then five million.” – Gene McClary).
3. Gain new experiences
These days, our jobs take up the majority of our time. And whenever we have free time, we’re usually too tired to take on new experiences and better ourselves. With MOOCs, there is no excuse, as resources are readily available at a few clicks of a button. Learning new experiences is also a good way to ignite motivation and enthusiasm to push yourself to grow. Maybe you haven’t learnt anything new recently but think back to how exciting it is to discover new activities and to have new experiences; that’s what a MOOC can do for you (“I envy you. I wish I could go back and do it for the first time, all over again. Here’s to new experiences.” – New Member Ted).
4. The International Edge
One of the biggest advantages of these MOOCs is that they bridge international barriers. For the longest time, most relevant seminars or courses were delivered by professionals offline in very few, selected locations like universities and colleges.
Now, thanks to MOOCs, people from all over the world are able to gain new knowledge and skills that they would otherwise be unable to access. This allows people in countries with generally poor higher education systems to access the best resources on the planet, without having to travel anywhere. You could find yourself with a considerable advantage compared to other people in your part of the world (“I’m going to be taking a craft over in international waters without permission, which by definition… makes me a pirate.” – Mark Witnay).
Better Yourself, Broaden Your Opportunities
As you can see, MOOCs create opportunities for us to become something we never knew we could be: multilingual marketing directors, tech-savvy farmers, or even pirates. Whether it is for your career or simply self-satisfaction, taking a MOOC is a great opportunity for both personal and professional development.
As humans, we have the ability and capacity to learn as much as we want. MOOCs are reshaping the way we learn in the best way possible. In the future, we’ll all be walking around as jacks of all trades. MOOCs allow us to learn and develop a whole new set of skills, enhance existing skills, create new opportunities, and boost career advancements both locally and internationally. Which is why you should definitely consider taking one sooner rather than later.
Author: Ali Neill
As the job board tester and blog editor for the Jobboard Finder, Ali works on job boards from all around the world and keeps a close eye on the recruitment trends thanks to a number of sources, including the website’s social media pages.
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