Massive Open Online Courses for Employability, Innovation and Entrepreneurship: a Rapid Assessment of Evidence

Farrow, Robert (2019). Massive Open Online Courses for Employability, Innovation and Entrepreneurship: a Rapid Assessment of Evidence. Open Education Research Hub / EMC-LM project, Maastricht.


This report summarises the evidence base regarding the use of open online learning for supporting employability, innovation and entrepreneurship within the European area. It was written as part of the European MOOC Consortium – Labour Markets project (EMC-LM). MOOC platforms in the European MOOC Consortium (EMC) look for solutions to reach better the labour market. This streamlined review of literature draws on scientific literature, project reports, policy documents, case studies and other resources to describe the potential for MOOCs to stimulate and empower organisations to use open education as part of their programs of continuous education (CE) and continuous professional development (CPD) or continuous vocational training (CVT).

This report identifies several interstices where the worlds of higher education, vocational educational, training and open online learning come are converging. Evidence is provided for the contention that, through enhancing opportunities for flexible delivery of education, MOOC can innovate the way that we approach degree programmes, lifelong learning, CE and CPD. The information gathered in this report aims to provide a comprehensive overview of relevant material but does not claim to be exhaustive. This report was written as part of the EMC-LM project as a way to establish a shared understanding of the possibilities for collaboration and innovation. The references provided are nonetheless a great starting point for any investigation of the potential of MOOCs for workplace and lifelong learning.

Approaches which emphasize the flexible delivery of learning are especially suited to workplace upskilling. For greatest impact and relevance, collaboration should cross disciplinary and professional boundaries, involving a wide range of stakeholders. Employability can be supported through improved management of work transitions; more flexible training options; new routes between education and work; building credibility in CPD; enhancing soft and transversal skills; and developing new mechanisms for authenticating non-formal learning. Innovation can be encouraged by working with greater transparency and sharing; improved dialogue between stakeholders; adopting a reflective attitude towards technology; and through policies which support and motivate new approaches. Entrepreneurship can be moving beyond the knowledge transfer model of entrepreneurial education; drawing stronger connections between theory and practice; promoting collaboration between researchers and practitioners in education and entrepreneurship; and encouraging entrepreneurial culture.

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