How to get the greatest value from a MOOC

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Here is another valuable Management Tip of the Day from Harvard Business Review. To sign up for a free subscription to any/all HBR newsletters, please click here.

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To get the most from a MOOC, a massive open online course, you don’t have to invest hours and hours of your time. There are generally three ways to learn what you need.

o Go for the certification. This means completing all the coursework, and sometimes paying a fee. Certification is helpful if you’re brand new to the topic because the extra effort to complete the assignments will ensure that you actually learn what you hope to. It’s a smart investment if you need to prove to a current or potential employer that you have certain skills.

o Audit. Another option is to watch the videos but not complete the assignments. You don’t get a certificate, but you can learn at your own pace. It’s the right way to go if you’re looking to brush up on a topic and don’t have several hours a week to commit to the workload.

o Sample. This means watching a video here or there to get the specific knowledge that you need. For example, say you wanted to do some regression modeling in Excel. Instead of watching a full course, you might look for a single lesson in a broader statistics course.

This Tip was adapted from “3 Ways to Use MOOCs to Advance Your Career,” by Walter Frick.

To check out that HBR article and join the discussion, please click here.

Also, you may wish to check out an anthology, Management Tips from Harvard Business Review, by clicking here.

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