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Free online courses can help businesses tap into the education revolution

Dr Emma Patterson from the University of Bath speaks about a revolution that is taking place in how knowledge is shared, and how the business world can make the most of new opportunities.

Make an impact: sustainability for professionals

What does this mean for businesses? The big difference for industry is that these free courses are opening up the doors of universities to students from all backgrounds, requiring no, or very few qualifications to get involved, and allowing study to happen in the student’s own time. Obviously this makes certain courses absolutely ideal for the development of staff.

Whether you’re updating your employees’ skills in an area they’re already working in, preparing them for new responsibilities or simply giving them opportunities to learn new skills, there are courses available that give access to the very latest thinking in almost every area you could want to study. MOOCs offer businesses an opportunity to enhance traditional training with specific programmes employees can take at their own pace.

Subjects as broad as ‘Introduction to ecosystems’, and my own course ‘Make an impact: sustainability for professionals through to the real nitty gritty of certain sectors, such as ‘Getting a grip on mathematical symbolism‘ are all currently available free of charge through FutureLearn.

I am thrilled to be delivering one of the University of Bath’s initial MOOCs through FutureLearn, titled ‘Make an Impact: sustainability for professionals’. This is a six-week online course aimed at professionals who want to better understand the drivers for and role of sustainable development within business, and to develop tools and techniques for integrating a sustainable development strategy within their own company.

Here at the University of Bath we are continually developing new and novel ways of delivering knowledge, making it engaging, relevant and valuable to learners. We’ve come out top in the country for the satisfaction of our students, and I am now looking to incorporate our world class teaching techniques in our MOOC provision through FutureLearn.

Some businesses are already alert to the opportunities MOOCs offer. I encourage everyone to consider how MOOCs might benefit their organisation, and to explore the wide range of courses available to them. Whatever size your company, the opportunities to ensure every member of the business has the chance to learn and develop are increasing.

You can sign up for ‘Make an impact: sustainability for professionals’ today and invite your employees and colleagues to study together with you.

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