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The Rise of the #T-MOOC (Twitter MOOC): with Sunder Ramachandran

with Sunder Ramachandran, Training Lead, Pfizer

Sunder Ramachandran is the Training Lead for Pfizer in India. In January 2015, Sunder was rated No. 10 globally & No. 2 in Asia-Pacific amongst the top movers & shakers in the e-learning & learning technology domainHe brings over 11 years of experience in enterprise learning & has worked across pharmaceutical, financial services & the information technology sectors. He is passionate about leveraging technology for learning, social learning & the possibilities of a connected enterprise. In his current role, Sunder is helping Pfizer India leverage the mobile first ecosystem for learning. Each of the 2500 Pfizer medical reps in India uses the I-Pad as a single device for learning, performance reporting & communicating with the customer.
Massive open online courses (MOOCs) have gained tremendous popularity over the last couple of years. The New York Times dubbed 2012 -‘The Year of the MOOC,’ and it has since become one of the hottest topics in education. Time magazine said that free MOOCs open the door to the ‘Ivy League for the Masses.’
2013 was the year of the MOOC experimentation and several organisations launched targeted initiatives to add MOOCs to their learning portfolio. You can watch this video to learn about the MOOC integration journey at JLT India.
Tweet-chats are also fairly popular in the twitter world and if you’re an active Twitter user, you may have heard of or participated in a tweet chat event. These are live discussions that take place on Twitter about a pre-determined theme. The idea is to get perspectives from a cross section of audience.
A T-MOOC essentially is a blend between the best design components of a MOOC & a Tweet-chat. The term is coined by Dr. Tanvi Gautam who runs the popular monthly tweet-chat forum - #Indiahrchat.
I had the opportunity to anchor the November edition of #Indiahrchat on the theme “MOOCs: Ready or not”  & it prompted Tanvi & I to dig deeper into the mechanics of a typical MOOC & a tweet-chat journey & explain how a T-MOOC learning journey can be created. We believe that a T-MOOC has utility & application in several aspects of HR. Here’s how you can design & execute a T-MOOC:
Stage 1 - Creating the community
Tweet-chats & MOOCs thrive on communities. Since a community thrives on scale and diversity, it’s important to create a landing page which becomes the epicenter for the announcements & also the outreach campaign. Here’s a good example: - Indiahrchat landing page
Stage 2 - Choice of theme & anchor
Choosing a theme that’s in line with the nature of the community helps. It’s a good idea to prepare a question set (usually not more than 5-6 questions) around which the tweet-chat can be built. It also makes sense to have a anchor on board who will steer the conversation on the tweet-chat. Having an anchor also enables you to leverage their network & expand the reach.
Stage 3 – Pre reads / Pre watch to set the context
This is where you start using the MOOC mechanics & start to integrate them into the Tweet-chat. Curate some interesting videos / slide-share decks that can be shared with the community to set the context. When participants have reviewed the content, it manifests in more meaningful conversations in the actual tweet-chat.
Stage 4 – Discussion forum / key notes on the questions (In-house)
If you are blending the tweet-chat as part of your internal organisational learning forum, then you could consider assigning the pre-defined tweet-chat questions to some internal leaders & have them deliver 2-3 min keynotes on each question. You can video record it and share it with the participants. It will help build momentum as you approach the tweet-chat event. Here’s how we used this within a learning event - Internal leaders answering tweet-chat questions
Stage 5:- Actual Tweet Chat (Engagement ideas)
The live tweet-chat event can be made more engaging by introducing polls within the tweet-chat. Various platforms like twtpoll & polleverywhere will enable you to do that. You can also use fun competitions like “Tweeter tonight” (where the community votes for their favorite twitter handle during the live chat). This is used in the #Hrtrends chat organised by PlughR
Stage 6:- Storified Version of Crowd sourced recommendations
Tweet-chats are about thinking out loud, validating your beliefs & gaining perspectives. It helps to present a consolidated version of all tweets / comments via tools like StorifyThe Storified version of the tweet-chat always makes for a great follow up read.
Application of the T-MOOC to Business HR
You could potentially integrate the T-MOOC within the following:
  •  Learning and Development (To enrich a learning event and as a blended ingredient)
  • Employer Branding - To engage with potential employees. Organising a T-MOOC with an internal leader will help meet this objective
  • Engaging Communities - a T-MOOC can be used to engage a talent community in a discussion. This can also be used a ideation / feedback platform which provides real alternatives / solutions to business problems.

As with any social idea, the possibilities with a T-MOOC end where the imagination does.
Happy T-MOOCing !!
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