What an experienced MOOCer thinks about #passion4digital MOOC

PayalLal #passion4digital mooc

Payal Lal #passion4digital moocer

I’m a MOOC lover. In my gap year, I was most commonly found streaming MOOC lectures in my bedroom. For someone who loves to learn, the concept of MOOCs is paradise – free learning from the best experts in the world.

However, the MOOC hype began to quickly die down when a variety of challenges showed up – engagement being a big one. 95% of people who enrolled in a MOOC dropped out. I could visibly see my MOOCs having less enthusiasm after Week 1 in all the MOOC related groups I was a part of. People would go back to their lives soon after their initial enthusiasm died down.

My name is Payal Lal, and I am an entrepreneur who works to help others to develop themselves using MOOCs. Here are my thoughts about MOOCs based on several years of experience being a MOOC learner.

What makes a successful MOOC?

However, there were a few very successful MOOCs that would have a continued trail of enthusiasm throughout. Two common attributes of these MOOCs included:

  1. Engaging activities and very active communities.
  2. Very relevant and practical MOOCs where there was a clear benefit of taking the MOOC, learners can immediately apply their MOOC learning to their lives in a professional and personal manner.

One such recent MOOC was University of Salford’s Digital Marketing and Social Media #passion4digital on iversity platform. Intended to teach basic digital marketing concepts, this MOOC managed to make their course extremely interactive and practical.

My top five #passion4digital MOOC highlights

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  1. Learners were taught a different topic ranging from social media optimisation (SMO) to Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) details such as keyword planning.
  2. Each week would have case studies on a different topic, and learners would apply what they learnt by doing a related activity.
  3. Activities included practicing tweeting skills on Twitter using hashtags and planning Google AdWords campaigns for a company of their choice.
  4. Most activities would involve writing a blog posts in which learners reflected on their process and results all on a platform where students and tutors were able to work with one another – it was called creativehive at the time and has since migrated to my.mastersindigitalmarketing.org
  5. All of this involved a great deal of social interaction as learners tweeted to each other and commented on each others’ blog posts. All this is happening on a hashtag which has a vibrant community beyond the lifetime of the MOOC – which officially ended in November 2015!

Social MOOC Taker pilot test on #passion4digital MOOC

My team and I tested our group learning tool on this MOOC. We used an algorithm to connect e-learners in the course to a group of 10 others who could chat with each other and track each others’ progress in the course. Apart from seeing a lot of enthusiasm, we saw learners collaborating and supporting each other persistently. Group members would help each other apply their newly learnt marketing concepts to their work, answer each others’ questions on coursework and even encouraging each others’ job searches.

Here is a brief overview of how Social MOOC Taker works:

Lastly, I think what made this particular MOOC really amazing was the level of feedback and analysis the JEMSS project team have undertaken. Although lead by Salford Business School, this MOOC included contributors from five universities in Europe and a commercial digital marketing recruitment company – the Candidate Ltd and the team invested time and energy into learning from the MOOC experience the team. After the MOOC, surveys were sent out and focus groups were organised in 5 different cities. Not only did this allow MOOC participants to meet in person, but it gave the team some great feedback on things they did well and things they could have done better.

I look forward to the Digital and Social Media Marketing PRO course and a Digital and Social Media Marketing book – soon to be launched on this topic by the same authors of this MOOC. My team and I hope to collaborate with more such MOOC teams in the future which are as committed to creating engaging courses for education.

Have you also benefited from the #passion4digital MOOC?

This MOOC is shortlisted in a number of industry awards such as the Digital Leaders 100 where the public can help in voting for the #passion4digital MOOC in the Digital Inclusion and Skills Initiative of the YearDigital leaders 100