MOOCing: Lifelong Learning and Professional Education

I remember clearly the long car rides I spent with my grandparents as a child. They always featured ginger candy, strong perfume, and lectures on tape. Together, we learned about the French revolution, Impressionist art, and infectious diseases. Most of these university-level speeches were beyond my understanding, but I could see the value in continuing one’s education after formal schooling ends.

I’m currently a university student, so my learning is on-site and highly structured. But I don’t see my education ending the day I wear a cap and gown. Today’s technology has revolutionized the learning available to me. MOOCs engage masses past their college or high school years, enhancing careers and intellect. Participating in MOOCs facilitates lifelong learning, with experts in nearly all professional and scholarly interests, at the highest quality. Though lectures on tape have existed for years, MOOCs offer a more comprehensive learning experience with visual technology (link to article on MOOCs and visual technology), shorter segments, and engagement with other students and professors.

Massive Open Online Courses can include the most current content, and can be revised more quickly than traditional curricula to include today’s research. MOOCs can be taken individually or by entire teams of employees, ensuring that all are up-to-date in their skills and knowledge. MOOC value is not solely academic; they are helpful regardless of one’s degrees in expanding knowledge and skills.

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iversity offers several courses that enhance careers, particularly in agriculture and finance. Given global food shortages, it is urgent that those involved in farming continue studying agriculture. In Internationales Agrarmanagement (International Agricultural Management), one learns how to plan and develop land environmentally and economically. Eastern Europe and Central Asia are plagued by outdated land management methods. This course could transform and improve the decisions of agricultural managers and workers, improving the efficiency and sustainability of land use. 

 

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Monte Carlo Methods in Finance could similarly improve your understanding of how the financial industry works, and your own investment decision. We are all aware that understanding risk became a prominent skill since the last financial crisis started in 2007. Those working in finance can brush up on their skills in risk management, understanding how it affects investment portfolios. Such learning could lead to better economic policy and wealth in the world’s leading nations. But one does not need to be a Wall Street banker, hedge fund manager, or professional in actuarial mathematics to get excited about this course. Whether you want to trade personal stocks or decode to predict the next bank crash, this MOOC teaches the principles of risk management.

MOOCs help one progress both professionally and personally, transforming how one continues to learn. We are no longer confined to long, auditory lectures, specific locations, or other’s schedules, even those of our grandparents. I look forward to exploring MOOCs with those all over the world already participating in these online courses. MOOCs are growing, covering more and more disciplines, from the technical to the artistic. There is a course for everyone; comment to share your favourite MOOCs.

by Anna Meixler