In an effort to make MOOCs a more serious credential, providers are looking to create the kinds of for-credit courses that employers will take seriously, and LinkedIn wants in. Yesterday LinkedIn reported that it is partnering with Coursera, Udacity and EdX, along with some lesser-known MOOC platforms, to create “Direct-to-Profile certifications,” which appear as an official credential on the profile of users who complete a course. As Silicon Valley Business Journal notes, both sides have something to gain from this deal:
MOOCs have a good reason to play with LinkedIn. Their student completion rates are naggingly low among the thousands (sometimes tens or hundreds of thousands) of students that simply sign up for, and then don’t finish, a course. A recent analysis by a PhD student studying online education found that, on average, only about 7 percent of users completed 29 MOOCs that were analyzed.
At the moment, college degrees continue to be the key to getting a good job, but even minor steps like this suggest that MOOCs are slowly becoming more meaningful as an alternative or supplement. It’s refreshing to see that these companies are thinking creatively about how to improve and make their product more relevant.