Should I Enroll In MOOCs to Help With My Job Search? Pros and Cons

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online learning 300x268 Should I Enroll In MOOCs to Help With My Job Search? Pros and ConsFirst of all, what are MOOCs?

“MOOCs” is short for massive open online courses.  It’s a trending educational tool that many top universities, such as MIT and Stanford, are offering for free to anyone in the world.  It’s a great resource for learning for free, but it is fairly new and the question stands: Should I enroll in MOOCs to help with my job search?

Here are some pros and cons on whether or not taking MOOC courses will actually strengthen your resume and whether employers really care about them.  This was an article featured on Simply Hired’s blog written by Jenna Kosseff.

View the original article here.

So let’s get started and help you decide for yourself if you should enroll in MOOC sites such as Coursera.

CONS

 

They don’t replicate an in-person learning environment. The solitary nature of online learning means that MOOCs are not equivalent to courses taken at a college or university. Attending lectures and completing assignments and examinations without supervision simply can’t offer the same benefits of in-person instruction. Although some MOOC services provide discussion forums and encourage student meet-ups, personal interactions and hands-on learning are very difficult, if not impossible, to replicate outside of the class environment.

Accreditation is not guaranteed. MOOCs are not necessarily accredited supplements to higher education. Although they may have ties to some of the best schools in the world, most of the courses do not offer academic credit. While some schools such as Antioch University and Colorado State University offer credit for select courses, it remains difficult to gain official recognition for your course work.

If MOOCs have all these drawbacks, should anyone be considering them to strengthen their education and skill sets? How much could a certificate of completion from a MOOC service be worth? The truth is they may provide intangible benefits that can help land your next job. MOOCs may not add to college transcript, but taking a MOOC can be an asset to your job search.

PROS

 

It gives you something positive to talk about. HR can be very conservative, but no interviewer would count your efforts to improve yourself against you, particularly if you have been unemployed for a long time. Not only that, it also shows that you are an early adopter of a useful technolog

It demonstrates drive and motivation.  Finishing an entire class on your own demonstrates self-motivation and ability to work independently without supervision. Anyone can claim that they are driven in an interview. You, on the other hand, will be able to clearly demonstrate it.

MOOCs can help you build expertise. If you’ve been out of school for a while, MOOCs are easily accessible resources that could help refresh your skills or learn about new subjects. With your new base of knowledge, you can publicly demonstrate your expertise by using it to help real people. An easy place to start testing your knowledge would be the MOOC service’s own discussion forums (if they provide one). However, your real target should be Q&A forums on sites like Quora, where you can help real industry professionals resolve issues relevant to their work. Participating in topic-specific Quora forums in a productive manner can help you gain the attention of niche influencers and possibly lead to a job. While your participation isn’t guaranteed to fill your inbox with inquiries from headhunters, it could at the least help you network with industry professionals.

Conclusion

Although MOOCs are fairly new and untested, you don’t have anything to lose if you enroll in these kinds of courses, and potentially have a lot to gain.  Enrolling in these courses show that you are determined and eager to learn, which employers will notice and value.

It can also be a great way to become an expert in your field and even be a great tool to help you transition into a career change.

Nobody is saying that enrolling in a MOOC course will guarantee you a higher chance of landing that job, but it is a great resource to better your understanding about different topics, help you become more well-rounded and help exercise your brain by learning.  Ultimately, it is up to you if you think taking these courses will help you grow in your personal and professional development until there is further testing and proof of its significance in the job search.
To learn more on how to communicate in your cover letter messaging, how your MOOC courses make you a better candidate for the job, please refer to Module 3 of the Get Hired with Video course.

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