Open learning resources provide anyone with an internet connection the opportunity to learn almost anything they desire without having to worry about a hefty price tag. So why aren’t companies using these resources to augment their professional development programs?
If you want to improve your strategic business skills, the University of Pennsylvania Wharton Business School already provides the foundational courses from their world class MBA program. Schools from all over the globe already provide world class content delivered either as Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) or through Open Courseware. Check out MIT OCW and you will get a good idea of how powerful Open Courseware can be.
To refresh your memory, check out these two posts from last year:
So I ask again, why don’t we see or hear about more companies using these resources in their professional programs? If you search for massive open online education on Wikipedia, you come across concepts like open education, connectivism, gamification, and unbundling. Free and open access to educational content is creating amazing possibilities.
Connectivism emphasizes the social and cultural role of learning. It proposes we view knowledge as a network structure and learning as a process of pattern recognition. Open education provides us the opportunity to discover the inherent patterns in our own learning and filter out the unnecessary noise that distracts us from our true goals and intention. Learning is a natural drive in all of us and open education is creating an opportunity for us to re-discover natural patterns in ourselves and our project teams when we learn together.
Another cool concept I hope companies start to adopt is gamification. It is where you apply game design theory and practices to learning. It helps improve motivation, completion rates, and other experiences students have while learning that many times are lacking in the traditional classroom. A fun example of this can be seen in Duolingo’s application of gamification and how it could help your project team’s communication skills.
If we are going to talk about how open learning can help us in our personal learning journeys, why can’t we also apply it to organizational professional development? It seems like a gold mine for project teams. An almost unlimited pool of learning resources available on demand from the world’s best universities and instructors. All you need is caffeine and an internet connection and you could be learning around the clock, 24/7.
So what do you say? Do you want to turn the break room into a student union and the conference room into a lecture hall? After that all you need is a projector, a laptop, and a chalkboard and you are set up for success.
A couple weeks ago, I shared an idea about how you could Expand Your Cultural Awareness with Google Treks. Thanks to Google Treks, you can travel to another country and virtually enjoy an amazing experience but what about the language? I would love to travel to Romania, Croatia, or Brazil to visit some of my PMI friends but how do I learn the language quickly and enjoyably?
You probably know where this is headed so let’s cut to the chase. I introduce you to Duolingo, a 100% FREE website and app you can use to learn almost any language. In 2013, it was the iPhone App of the Year and Google’s Best of the Best. So to earn those accolades, it must be pretty sweet.
The first thing I love is the price tag, FREE. So you can remove that anxiety. Secondly, I love how you can learn 15 different languages:
The third thing is how they “gamify” the learning process. Every day you receive little badges and recognition to keep you motivated. Turning the learning process into a game makes the process and experience so much more fun, no matter how old you are. Each lesson includes a variety of learning modalities depending on whether you like to read or listen to the content. There is in-lesson grading providing instant feedback about whether you answered a question correctly. If you are diligent and visit the site daily, Duolingo motivates you by recording how many days in a row you spend learning a new language. They also encourage you to invest a little “heart and soul” into your learning by providing you hearts to keep your lessons alive. You lose a heart when you answer incorrectly. When all your hearts are gone, you have to start over and try again. So make sure you are paying attention.
I recently graduated from the Project Management Institute Leadership Institute Masters Class where I became friends with 34 other amazing project managers from 18 different countries. Duolingo would have come in extremely handy. Instead of shaking their hands and greeting them in English, I could have greeted them in their native tongue, which goes a long way in forming a strong cultural bond.
Cultural awareness is a skill I believe deserves as much attention as strategic business management and technical project management. It helps project managers become stronger leaders across the globe and provides us with another tool we can add to our resume, which goes a long way towards helping us build a career anywhere on this beautiful planet.
PMI, I recommend you add Duolingo to your next Leadership Institute Masters class so the students can add this to their toolkit and share it with their chapters. To every project manager reading this, I recommend you check out Duolingo and give it a trial run for one month. If you don’t like it, just walk away. Remember it is FREE.
Thank you for sharing this moment again and I hope you have a beautiful day.