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How Employers View MOOC Certificates in 2018

Posted in 'Featured' started by Carolyn, Jul 2, 2018.

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  1. Carolyn

    Carolyn Founder at MoocLab Staff Member

    Suffolk, UK
    According to a report published by MoocLab in December 2017, the total global number of MOOC participants is estimated to be in excess of 100 million learners worldwide. While some learners take MOOCs out of personal interest, for others, enhancing their job prospects is the primary goal by gaining course certificates. This raises the question of how these courses and certificates are viewed by potential employers, especially in comparison to more traditional credentials.

    How Employers View MOOCs.png

    The fundamental point of concern is the credibility of MOOCs and certificates, and whether or not these are taken seriously by employers. The MOOC providers’ answer to this has been ID verification methods such as webcams, keystroke analysis, valid photo identification and in-person test centres in order to verify the identity of participants and confirm that they have completed the work submitted in their name. In addition, employers are able to verify the authenticity of an ID verified certificate using a unique verification URL printed on the certificate itself.

    However, being able to prove that a certificate is genuine doesn’t help with verifying the actual course content and the level of education acquired through taking a MOOC. From an employer’s perspective, interpreting MOOCs on a CV is complicated further if the recruiter is not familiar with this form of education. In a 2017 study by QS, it was found that of the 4,654 employers who responded to a survey, 71% were not familiar with MOOCs. Interestingly, the study revealed a geographic disparity with recruiters based in Eastern Europe showing the highest awareness or familiarity of MOOCS (56%) compared to Western Europe and Latin America (23%). The study also showed that MOOC awareness is industry specific with recruiters from Consulting, Technology, and Industry fields being the most familiar with these courses. It is perhaps the lack of awareness from recruiters that represents the biggest employability hurdle for MOOC students.

    Increasingly, though, MOOC providers are awarding university credit on some of their courses where learners have purchased the end of course certificate, setting a positive precedent for a better acceptability and recognition of MOOCs in the workplace. There is already evidence of a growing number of corporates using MOOCs for workforce development with the launch in 2016 of Coursera for Business which now counts over 500 corporate customers including some notable names, such as L’Oréal, Boston Consulting Group, and AXA. The use of MOOCs by employers is a positive step, but will this trend translate into MOOCs being seen as acceptable for recruiting purposes?

    Although the traditional degree certificate is still the more valued credential among employers in general, employers in today’s job market are looking for technically skilled, job-ready candidates which a traditional degree doesn’t always guarantee. Being able to show physical evidence of your abilities is becoming increasingly important in recruitment, and MOOCs can play a key role in this with many MOOC programs culminating in a practical capstone project, giving employers a clear picture of a candidate’s abilities.

    Moreover, having a transcript of MOOC certificates issued by some of the world’s most elite universities by the likes of MIT, Harvard and Stanford demonstrates in itself motivation, perseverance, dedication and entrepreneurship – traits that all employers will be looking for in a candidate. It is then up to the candidate to show tangible proof of the hard skills he or she has acquired through course certificates and transcripts as well as any evidence of completed project work.

    There is still some way to go before recruiters fully recognise the value of MOOCs on a CV, but the uptake of this form of training by employers is certainly encouraging. With MOOCs allowing for a greater flexibility compared to traditional education to provide training in the most contemporary fields and conquer the skills gap, these courses hold a promising future for prospective employees.

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    Article by Carolyn McIntyre, CEO of MoocLab
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