Are we on the verge of a revolution in eLearning? Some think so, especially given the recent news that Google will be partnering with Harvard and MIT’s not-for-profit online learning endeavor, EdX. Google and EdX plan to develop a new site, MOOC.org, a free hub for eLearning course development and hosting.
Much in the way WordPress and other content management platforms allowed businesses, institutions, and individuals to publish and manage content quickly and easily without costly web development intermediaries, EdX hopes to attract third-party developers who will enhance and extend the capabilities of their platform on MOOC.org.
What’s a MOOC? MOOC stands for “Massive Open Online Courses,” and have been the latest entry in the way global information networks and open access to previously exclusive content are disrupting traditional institutional models. With brilliant minds in a wide range of fields delivering course content online to thousands instead of a fraction of that in traditional university settings, the impact MOOCs will have on academia isn’t entirely clear yet. The promise is to provide wider access to education up and down the socioeconomic ladder.
The perpetual question of monetization aside, the MOOC.org initiative points to a potentially powerful platform for businesses interested in knowledge management and team training distributed across international markets. Whereas companies have often had to make heavy investments in proprietary platforms for eLearning, MOOC.org may provide companies with a more economical and flexible solution. What’s more, open source software has typically had a strong technical framework in place for translation and localization.
MOOC.org will not be in full swing until early 2014, but there are pre-registration forms available for businesses, non-profits, educational institutions, and individual instructors and course authors. If you’re planning your eLearning strategy for the years ahead, the site is definitely one you’ll want to keep on your radar.