Leverage MOOCs to Advance Your Management Career
“Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.”
These words, spoken by President John F. Kennedy more than half a century ago, still ring true today. In fact, in our fast-paced business world, where the workplace is continuously changing due to technological advancements and demographic shifts, they may be more relevant than ever before. However, when you’re a fulltime manager with a busy schedule, it can be challenging to complete additional training, especially when you’re required to attend classes at a specific time and cover a predetermined amount of courseware each week.
That’s where massive online open courses, often referred to as MOOCs, can make all the difference. MOOCs are free online courses, usually at the undergraduate or graduate level, that are made available to the public by MIT, Stanford, UC Berkeley, and other renowned higher education institutions. They offer a great way to ramp up your knowledge in a wide range of areas, including management and management-related topics, but also subjects like analytics, econometrics, and a growing number of technology-related topics. For example, MITOpenCourseware offers more than 1,400 of MIT’s archived courses for free, including Managerial Psychology and Competitive Decision-Making & Negotiation from Sloan School of Management. Similarly, the online portal edX provides access to a large number of courses, many of which are free, and MOOC List is a searchable database of free online courses from around the world.
There are two basic ways to leverage MOOCs to your professional advantage. The first is to simply use them as knowledge repositories. For example, MITOpenCourseware allows you to download courseware, assignments, projects, related resources, and more for each course. Since there’s no obligation to read all the materials, you can pick and choose the topics you want—or need—to know more about.
The second way is to complete courses from beginning to end, which ensures you get a comprehensive understanding of the subject matter. Since you can work at your own pace, it’s easier to combine with your professional duties. You can demonstrate your newly acquired knowledge or skills at work by volunteering for projects, which immediately adds to your professional experience. If you need more proof of your skills in order to be considered for assignments or to qualify for a job, some courses offer the option of purchasing a certificate for approximately $100.
All things considered, MOOCs offer a convenient, affordable way to acquire skills and knowledge that can help you advance. Plus, without the inconvenience of having to attend classes at set times, you can learn at a pace that your schedule allows. And in the long run, this highly practical form of professional development might be the one that most benefits your career advancement.