Embedded Performer Support & the World of MOOCs

I read a very good article this morning from Jeanne Meister on the subject of MOOCs in the Corporate L&D world – “How MOOCs Will Revolutionize Corporate Learning And Development”, and could not agree more with what she wrote. At the same time, I found something that hopefully had been tucked in between the lines, but I feel is worth calling out and raising the visibility of an important aspect to be included in any Corporate  L&D MOOC – Embedded Performer Support [EPS]…imagine that coming from me. If we ignore EPS, or it was not tucked between the lines, we’re just calling training by another name.

My argument for greater visibility of the role and the integration of EPS into any Learning Strategy is essential if we do not plan on stopping at the transfer of knowledge to our workforce. Knowledge transfer is critical, no doubt about it, but sustained capability @ the point of work is, to me, the larger, more business-impactful scope and role of learning supported by EPS. The emphasis on adopting…or adapting…the MOOC model into the Corporate L&D world will miss an important opportunity to support continuous learning and support in the post-training work context if the emphasis remains on a “training paradigm” …though MOOCs are rife with innovation.

MOOCs came from an academic birthright, and they are structured to accomplish the transfer of knowledge in some very innovative “flipped classroom” approaches that are less structured and open to participants to discover and learn through multiple forms of content delivery, media and venues. Perfect. This will work in the corporate world as well. My question is why stop there? Let’s flip the whole dynamic learning and support ecosystem, not just the classroom. Take Charles Jennings’ 70:20:10 model as an example. If 70% of learning is experiential, let’s enable that experience to take place during training AND at the point of work too.

Why not embed performer support assets within the domain of diverse MOOC learning assets that range from lectures, blended learning, reference documents, to a variety of social interactions and collaboration? I’m not talking about just plugging in job aids and calling it good; design approaches need to be more intentional than that and assets should track in alignment to a Learner-to-Performer Continuum.

More importantly, in my less than humble opinion, a key alignment with tangible business outcomes should trump everything else. If it does not, then why are we training in the first place? Our focus needs to key on producing an environment where sustainable human performance consistently generates business value, and to me, that is not the current emphasis I’m finding in MOOCs or any other training innovation that has not integrated EPS. That does not discount the value of training in ANY innovation, but training in that limited context only serves as the first step along the longer journey to competency and sustainability.


Gary G. Wise
Workforce Performance Advocate, Coach, Speaker
(317) 437-2555
Web: Living In Learning