As the nation’s workforce development system strives to change to meet the needs of a dynamically shifting US economy and the requirements of the new Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), Maher & Maher has been working with our clients at the Employment and Training Administration’s (ETA) Office of Workforce Investment to keep pace with the change. The result? The agency’s first-ever Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) will premier this month – inviting select workforce professionals to engage with this exciting new learning format for the first time.
A MOOC is an online, interactive learning platform designed to “flip the classroom” and foster learning that is powered by the learning community itself and guided by (but not controlled by) an instructor. Learning is delivered online, 24x7, so it fits with today’s busy work schedules, and allows diverse groups of learners to interact across locations at a time that is most convenient for all. Like most MOOCs, the course Maher developed for ETA includes video-based lectures, online discussions, team and individually based learning assignments, self-check quizzes and more. Learners are rewarded for active engagement and completed work assignments with digital badges – electronic certificates of achievement that might one-day be attached to credentials or even replace paper diplomas in the educational arena.
The ETA mini-MOOC, Leading Change While Implementing Innovation, focuses on strategies to build more resilient cultures through active leadership. Maher’s President, Richard “Rick” Maher is the instructor for the 5-week course. It is dubbed “mini” because, unlike most MOOCs, the course is being piloted initially with only Workforce Innovation Fund grantees, and not open to the workforce system at large.
“Leadership through change is a subject very close to my heart and has been a primary focus of mine throughout my professional career,” said Mr. Maher. “I’m excited about this because I get to offer some insights into the complex subject of managing change, and our firm is helping ETA to innovate while testing the utility of a leading-edge learning platform. We launched ETA’s first ever webinar, its first eLearning course, and now its first MOOC platform – so a tradition of innovation continues, and I’m quite proud of our people for making it happen.”
Course participants will work together throughout the course for a deep dive into the subject of organizational change, Course materials cover the factors that make individuals and organizations more (or less) agile during challenging times, and allow participants the opportunity to assess their own unique level of resiliency during change. Learners will also explore an 8-step model to manage and lead change in any organization. The mini-MOOC journey ends with a capstone activity designed to help learners apply what they discover about themselves and their organizations to their current change initiatives at home.
“This is a pilot program and a proof of concept offering. We want to see how this new approach works for people, and how ETA thinks it could play out as part of their on-going technical assistance master plan,” said Catherine Baker, Maher’s Chief Learning Officer. “But we did it right. The platform is robust, it works and I think people are going to enjoy the new, collaborative way to learn. We hope to see it open up to be available to more folks in the future, and are already seeing it take root with our private sector clientele.”
Keeping pace with the rapid changes underway in the workforce system will take bold, new ways of building staff capacity – especially around how people manage and implement change. The MOOC platform can help our clients meet the challenges with a highly interactive, “real-time” learning experience that is widely accessible to everyone in the system and across states and regions throughout the country.
Maher & Maher is a specialized change management and talent-development consulting firm based in New Jersey and Washington, D.C. The firm is the national Technical Assistance (TA) contractor supporting the Workforce Innovation Fund for the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA) as well as the agency’s partner in their implementation of the new Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). For more information about our services visit us at www.mahernet.com or call us at 1-888-90-Maher.