Working in Increasing Isolation? How an International MOOC for Career Professionals Supports Peer Learning across Distance

Barbara Kieslinger, Juliet Tschank, Teresa Schaefer, Claudia Magdalena Fabian

Abstract


In this contribution we provide an assessment of an international MOOC that was designed specifically for professionals in employment services and career guidance. The six-week course was implemented in the context of a wider spanning project on the study of professional identity transformations and was building on the experience of smaller courses provided in closed organizational settings. By opening up the course and transferring it into a MOOC format, almost 90 professionals from around 20 countries were able to share their work experiences and discuss challenges in their daily work related to demographic change, digitalization and organizational change. Amongst the most active contributors were those participants, who were confronted with an increasing isolation at work: being either placed in remote areas, part of a distributed team or a “functional” island. For them, learning from and with others as part of an online community, becomes increasingly important, as reflected by the participants’ feedback and their comments during the course. The analysis clearly stresses the importance of the exchange of experiences with colleagues and peers. While tutor input was also appreciated, participants especially appreciate the learning from their peers. A MOOC or online community can serve an important role in collaborative reflection and social learning. Given this experience, MOOCs could be offered specifically for certain professions where people work in isolation, either in geographical terms or in terms of the topics they are covering.


Keywords


MOOC; peer-learning; social-learning; workplace-learning

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International Journal of Advanced Corporate Learning (iJAC). ISSN: 1867-5565
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