Benefits and Challenges of a MOOC

If you look at the MOOC realm, you will find that MOOC’s have eager supporters, but also avid criticizers. A MOOC is a new knowledge and networking method and as new things get tested, they will always have their evangelists and bashers. Here are some of the pros and cons of MOOC’s:

12 benefits of a MOOC
  1. You can organize a MOOC in any setting that has connectivity (which can include the Web, but also local connections via Wi-Fi e.g.)
  2. You can organize it in any language you like (taking into account the main language of your target audience)
  3. You can use any online tools that are relevant to your target region or that are already being used by the participants
  4. You can move beyond time zones and physical boundaries
  5. It can be organized as quickly as you can inform the participants (which makes it a powerful format for priority learning in e.g. aid relief)
  6. Contextualized content can be shared by all
  7. Learning happens in a more informal setting, at a place of your convenience and often around your own schedule.
  8. Learning can also happen incidentally thanks to the unknown knowledge that pops up as the course participants start to exchange notes on the course’s study
  9. You can connect across disciplines and corporate/institutional walls
  10. You don’t need a degree to follow the course, only the willingness to learn (at high speed)
  11. You add to your own personal learning environment and/or network by participating in a MOOC
  12. You will improve your lifelong learning skills, for participating in a MOOC forces you to think about your own learning and knowledge absorption

Possible challenges of a MOOC
  1. It feels chaotic as participants create their own content
  2. It demands digital literacy
  3. It demands time and effort from the participants
  4. It is organic, which means the course will take on its own trajectory (you have got to let go).
  5. As a participant you need to be able to self-regulate your learning and possibly give yourself a learning goal to achieve.

A great surplus after having gone through a MOOC?
The nice thing is that a MOOC does not necessarily stop once the course closes.
A couple of us MobiMOOC’rs gathered together to write a collaborative paper. That sure was a great experience. As such MOOC’s can really result in networks that last over time. A MOOC is a Community of Practitioners, and as such you can built digital relationships that last thanks to the joint interest.

To build a durable Community of Practitioners, you could also start a LinkedIn group, which will stand the test of time.