Could Moocs be the next big thing in college recruiting?

If you follow the learning and development community, then Moocs, or Massive On-line Open Courses won’t be a new concept. They have been gaining momentum, popularity and adoption since first appearing in 2008. .Wikipedia defines a Mooc as:

“A Massive Open Online Course (MOOC; /mk/) is an online course aimed at unlimited participation and open access via the web. In addition to traditional course materials such as videos, readings, and problem sets, MOOCs provide interactive user forums that help build a community for students, professors, and teaching assistants (TAs).”

Kevin Wheeler wrote on ERE in March 2014:

“Sites like Udemy, Moodle, Udacity, and others allow organizations to create their own private courses. These can attract potential candidates and provide a platform for engagement that is authentic and useful to the candidate and your firm. If you can involve hiring managers, as well as fellow employees, you will have one more high-quality source of candidates.”

In my work with Sydney start-up and SRM (student relationship manager) technology provider iGrads, I have been spending the last 12 months taking a close look at the trends within graduate and entry-level hire, and  I can see real potential for organisations to develop their own Moocs to attract students, by providing learning delivered by employees to support and mentor students in their course work during their study years. This would connect the organisation with students providing real value to all. For the student they get high quality, relevant learning, whilst the company gets a great opportunity to connect, build relationships, offer work experience and internship, as well as assessing a students skills, capability and learning through study, assessments, assignments and real life simulations. This has to be the ultimate in employer branding particularly when hiring students. Connect in year one, and you would be the obvious destination by year 3, as well as ensuring that study is relevant to work, a common complaint when looking at the traditional academic curriculum.It has been well documented that Gen Y value learning, whilst millennial’s value development opportunity, Organisations offering Moocs would stand out on both accounts.

Thinking beyond students in university, the rising cost of study, against a background of high level student unemployment has led to many questioning the value of continued education. An ambitious organisation requiring specific skills or learning could set up their own university equivalent as a means of attracting and assessing candidates in a whole range of areas, particularly talent short markets such as developers, your own in-house code academy, open to anyone interested in signing up.

My thinking is that this could be something we should see much more of over the coming years.