By Frank Kenna
Digital technology continues to change the world as we know it, with one of the latest changes being the advent of massive open online courses. MOOCs are online education classes offered by leading universities such as Stanford, Harvard, Yale and MIT. Anyone can join these classes for free and without registration, creating unprecedented access to the world’s top thinkers and teachers. As a result, some of these classes have attracted up to 150,000 “students” at a time. Pretty powerful stuff. Think of the leverage involved; instead of professors teaching just 100 students at a time, they can now teach more than 1,000 times that many, in real time.
Translated into workplace jargon, think of the communication and employee-learning gains you could attain if you could reach 1,000 times as many of your employees at a time. The leverage using these techniques is amazing.
While you may not have the educational resources of a Yale or Harvard, you do have the digital tools available to ratchet up your communications. Email was one of these productivity-enhancers when first popularized about 20 years ago. Texting was another about 10 years ago. But since then there haven’t been any radical new ways to communicate in the workplace.
Digital signage, which has become popular in the last few years, has been a step in that direction, offering one-to-many communication capabilities. DS gives you the ability to get your messages in front of hundreds – or thousands – of employees within minutes. This is not quite the same as MOOCs, as DS doesn’t have the instant feedback and collaboration that MOOCs offer, but all that is coming. Future DS products will give the employees the ability to “talk back” in real time, collaborate with managers and more. These capabilities will be added on to existing DS products, at least at The Marlin Company.
So now may be the perfect time for you to start a MOOC – in the form of a DS implementation at your workplace.