Massive open online courses (or MOOCs for short) have been changing the landscape for education in recent years.
Perhaps the most famous of these platforms is Coursera.
Through their platform they offer higher-education courses from world-renowned universities.
The success of Coursera is undeniable as it seems like each year investors are pouring more and more money into the project.
Similar platforms have come about since Coursera. Some of the more popular MOOC-type platforms include:
- Khan Academy
There are of course many others. Universities sometimes setup their own internal MOOC platforms to server their campus and local areas.
Creating Your Own MOOC
Perhaps you are part of an organization that wants to offer open online courses. If so, you’ll shortly find that you have a few options to choose from for building your MOOC – one of which includes LearnDash.
Every MOOC is different but there are some central capabilities among all of them.
Three of the main features are:
- Online course offering
- User interaction
Let’s look at how you can accomplish each of these using LearnDash.
Online Course Offering
If you have a WordPress site then the easiest way to offer online courses is simply by installing LearnDash. Our software makes it simple to create a course, add your content, and configure registration.
Perhaps the biggest advantage to using LearnDash though is because of the team you’ll have behind you as you build out your courses. Everyone has questions at some point – you can take comfort in knowing you’ll receive timely and relevant support should you need it.
MOOCs also allow for user interaction. In fact, the more interaction you enable the great sense of community you’ll create for your MOOC. People like the feeling of community, especially when taking courses online.
If you haven’t heard of BuddyPress then you should check it out. It’s a free WordPress plugin that allows users to create their own profiles (similar to Facebook), send messages to other members, upload photos, so on and so forth.
Using the LearnDash-BuddyPress integration you can connect these profiles to the courses that you create. Place learners into groups based on the courses they enroll into and then configure group & course specific forums.
Again, it’s all about community. BuddyPress delivers this.
Interaction also refers to how learners interact with your MOOC company. You can use the LearnDash-Zapier add-on to create various communication points. See this page for some examples.
Taking courses and interacting with people is all well-and-good, but it’s meaningless unless there is an “end-goal”. There should be an incentive for taking the courses you offer.
Two easy ways to do this:
- Badges & Points
You can offer either certificates or badges after quizzes are passed, or when a course has been successfully completed. Award points and badges to your learners when they complete milestones. This will help to keep your learners engaged through the learning process.
When learners earn these various items they can proudly display them on their profile, or even push them to their LinkedIn accounts if you are using Credly or Mozilla OpenBadges.
This is also an area you could potentially monetize (should you want to). By way of example, Coursera started charging for people to download and print their certificates which resulted in a little over a million dollars of revenue after one year.
The three characteristics listed above are some of the more defining as it relates to MOOCs. You may think of some unique features you want to add to your own MOOC depending on your audience.
The good news is that you are often only limited by your imagination. You can quickly experiment with new functionality by leveraging some of the great free plugins at WordPress.org.
If you have been thinking about creating your own MOOC and want to ask us a few questions, do not hesitate to send us a note. We’d be happy to discuss the details of your project.