For those of us who devote a fair portion of our professional time to sales training, we are always looking around to see what the rest of the education and training world is up to. Are there new exciting developments that we might want to better understand? And, do some of these emerging ideas have implication for how we go about doing what we do?
One candidate that might deserve some attention is MOOCs – Massive Open Online Courses. MOOCs are online courses aimed at large-scale participation and open and free access.
Although the idea has been around for a while, MOOCs first landed in the spotlight when Sebastian Thrun, a Stanford professor, offered a MOOC in artificial intelligence last year. How large-scale was it? Well, there were 190,000 students in 190 countries that participated. When I stumbled across that little tidbit, I wondered how many of us touch that many people in an entire career?
By way of more background, MOOCs are typically offered via a partnership between education technology companies (e.g., Coursera, Udacity, edX) and elite universities such as: Princeton, MIT, Brown, and Duke. Although most would say we are still in the early years of this trend, today there are millions of students enrolled in hundreds of programs. And there’s lots more information on Google.
So the question is – should the world of sales training care about MOOCs? We would be interested in hearing your ideas. A couple of questions to guide the discussion:
- Should sales training companies, either large or small, individually or collectively try to get involved? What might that look like and what are some of the risks and payoffs if they did?
- Could we imagine a small group of individuals who know a lot about sales trying to partner with a university that is already offering programs in other areas to do something in sales? If so, what are the considerations?
- Do we see any substantial payoffs for the field of sales as a profession?
If you found this post helpful, you might want to join the conversation and subscribe to the Sales Training Connection.
©2012 Sales Horizons, LLC