Blogs ICTs and Extension

BLOG-36: Skills, Scale and Speed: Harnessing MOOCs for Large Scale Capacity Development

Many agencies are experimenting with MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) for enhancing the capacities of rural communities and knowledge intermediaries. MOOCs offer huge potential for enhancing the capacities of extension and advisory service providers. In this blog, Dr V Balaji shares his experience of using MOOCs in the
area of Mobiles for Development.

Dr V Balaji is currently the Director of Technology and Knowledge Management at COL. Prior to joining COL in 2010, he had served at ICRISAT for about a decade as the leader for KM and IT. His current interest is in MOOC for Development and in deployment of an affordable, low-cost new device called Aptus ( that enables rural families to access internet-based resources even if there is no connectivity (



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  • Congratulations to Dr.Balaji for posting an innovative way of reaching unlimited number of learners through MOOC. Glad to know that NAAS is associated with this and contemplating to organize a course on 5th Sep, 2014, which happens to be Teachers day. It is an opportunity for persons like me to register for this course

  • It was heartening to go through the blog on MOOC by Dr V Balaji , an international expert on ICT4D. The large scale skills development and competence building efforts needed for a country like ours are constrained by lack of resources and the shortage of quality manpower. Distance education, although in vogue for some time, truly has not lived up to its expectation. The revolutionary concept of MOOC has come as a boon. Within a short period it has become very popular in many countries including India. We see a huge potential for its use in skills development, education and training. In partnership with the National Academy of Agricultural Sciences (NAAS) and the Commonwealth of Learning, Dr Balaji facilitated a Brain storming session on MOOC during early this year. In retrospect, we see this as timely, when MOOC has found mention in the 12th Five Year Plan budget and Prime Minister’s speech at the BRICS summit. The NAAS’s policy paper on MOOC (under preparation) and this blog will help in sensitizing the organizations and people who matter in popularizing this technology. I complement Dr Balaji and AESA for the blog. By the way, the blog title is very impressive

  • Thanks for alerting about this blog from our esteemed friend Dr Balaji. My hearty congratulations to him. I am happy to be associated with him in convening the NAAS brainstorming session on 5th March 2014. This disruptive innovation can change the landscape of capacity building. Please spread this mantra all around

  • Timely blog. Thanks to Dr V Balaji for sharing his experiences in an interesting way. It is encouraging to learn that the NAAS (India) taking efforts to use MOOC for agricultural education. It is right time to use MOOC for the capacity development of extension personnel of Departments of Agriculture and SMS of KVKs. I hope that the MANAGE and ICAR (especially extension division) may take lead to introduce MOOC for large scale capacity development of extension functionaries in India and also Asian/ African countries.