How on earth you do you plan a MOOC?

I don’t know! But I’m going to find out. That’s why I’m attending the MOOC on how to make Outstanding MOOCs! Not sure what one is? Read my other blog post.

I’ve worked my way through the levels so far and am at the point where I have my own Curatr MOOC space and need to start building it. There are some videos in the MOOC that help with getting around the basics of building the site and I’m keen to get going. I’ve had a tiny little play but I know what I need to do is plan the content. So rather than jumping in head first to just build away, I’ve followed my own advice and done some thinking and planning.

Process or model?

I like to use Action Mapping, designed by Cathy Moore, as I find it a great way in L&D to focus on more than knowledge pieces of lecture training. I’m not going through the whole process in the most authentic way, but I am using it to help shape my thinking.

In order to do that though, I needed to get some of my “solutioneering” out of the way, some of my ideas and thoughts on paper out of the working space in my head so I could concentrate on my planning:

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Action Mapping means we have to understand the business goal. If you like, this is the return on investment. What does the business gain from you doing this learning intervention? Maybe you work in charity, further or higher education or something else. You might not feel that it’s about “selling widgets”, but ultimately it all comes down to money and measurement. There are budgets, there are measures to do with things like reducing health and safety incidents or whatever it might be. There is ALWAYS a business goal.

In this instance, I’m making my MOOC about creating great presentation slides. I don’t have a specific business need around this as I’m not developing it for a real organisation. However I did brainstorm some things around what the business change might be in this instance and what measure it:

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Action Mapping then focuses on what things people actually need to DO to get to the goal, and it completely ignores the “they need to KNOW this” piece. So, I had my ‘tentative’ business goal of “Create Awesome PowerPoint Slides” and I thought about all the ‘actions’ people need to take in order to achieve that.

The next step with Action Mapping is to understand why people aren’t already doing those things, in four categories: Knowledge, Skills, Motivation, Environment. So the orange letters against each action are my thoughts on why someone might not do this. In reality this would be working with subject matter experts to understand this in detail and deciding if training really is the right option, or whether it really needs to be something else, like job aids or Manager performance support or whatever:

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So then it’s focusing on activities that help learners experientially up-skill towards the business goal. Again, it’s not focused on what people need to ‘know’ it’s about what they are going to ‘do’. The below images are really more for my own planning, but I took each action, from the blue writing above, and came up with some activities in the way of questions to use in the MOOC:

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MOOC Design

So am I now completely ready to build my MOOC in Curatr? No!

Do I have all the materials together? Not at all, that’s a different step.

Do I know things like how many levels I’m going to have? No, though I guess I might use my activities as a base for the levels.

Do I feel more confident to start building? Yes!

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