A MOOC (massive open online course) is defined as “an online course aimed at unlimited participation and open access via the web…. many MOOCs provide interactive user forums to support community interactions among students, professors, and teaching assistants (TAs)” (Wikipedia, 2016).
The reason I even looked into this topic lays in a fact that majority of the Professional Development training needs I personally embraced during the past 5 years occurred in an online environment. Not only I was able to learn about the topics I had an interest in, but I was also able to deepen my understanding of the topics required for my profession. The fact that some of the online courses and webinars I attended provided ‘Certificate of Completion’ or ‘Certificate of Achievement’ (which in turn may play an important role in “employability” of the adult learners) made it even more rewarding and important for me. Looking back at the assumptions proposed by Knowles in introducing andragogy (Merriam & Bierema, 2014, p.47) it is clear that the technology available to the adult learners in the 21st century increases self-directed readiness to learn by providing them with the knowledge that they need to develop in their work or social roles, and, what is more important, apply the acquired knowledge immediately.
In his article “Use Of MOOCs And Online Education Is Exploding: Here’s Why” (http://www.forbes.com/sites/joshbersin/2016/01/05/use-of-moocs-and-online-education-is-exploding-heres-why/#ce2381261a74), Bersin (2016) elaborated that the technology advancements that allowed us to easily access the course contents from any device, combined with the low costs, the fact that employers show increased interest in certain skills and education, as well as ability of the learners to comment or rate the course on the social networking, “forced the content providers to be better than ever” (Bersin, 2016).
Cobb ( 2013) in his “12 Trends (Still) Disrupting the Market for Lifelong Learning and Continuing Education” post from 2013 (as re-posted in 2015) lists 12 trends that are taking over the large portion of the lifelong learning market. He summarizes that we are required to “constantly update, retool, rethink, and relearn” (Cobb, 2013).
The fact is that MOOCs provide access to education for a wide audience, allowing for the increased access to education. However, Rohs and Ganz (2015), debate that “the availability of those educational resources (MOOCs; OER; etc.) is especially useful for people with higher socioeconomic status and / or educational background and is associated with a different kind of motivation and reception of learning offers”. This is mainly because the courses are designed for the specific contents, and mostly attract students with higher education. According to Rohs and Ganz (2015), “before MOOCs can help people in developing countries to become more educated, the infrastructural issues have to be solved”, namely the attendees have to have the electricity, computer and a stable internet connection (Rohs & Ganz, 2015).
And finally, the great talk about innovations in education and MOOCs is given by Anant Agarwal (2013) which can be accessed here: http://www.ted.com/talks/anant_agarwal_why_massively_open_online_courses_still_matter#t-48580
Anant A. (2013). Why massive open online courses (still) matter. Retrieved February 06, 2016. from:
Bersin, J (2016). Use Of MOOCs And Online Education Is Exploding: Here’s Why. Retrieved Febryary 06, 2016. from:
Cobb, J. (2013), 12 Trends (Still) Disrupting the Market for Lifelong Learning and Continuing Education. Retrieved February 06, 2016. from http://www.tagoras.com/lifelong-learning-market-trends/
Merriam, S. B. & Bierema, L. L. (2014). Adult learning. San Francisco, CA: John Wiley & Sons
Rohs, M. & Ganz, M (2015). MOOCs and the Claim of Education for All: A Disillusion by Empirical Data. The International Review Of Research In Open And Distributed Learning, 16(6). doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.19173/irrodl.v16i6.2033
Wikipedia contributors (2016). Massive open online course. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved February 06, 2016. from: https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Massive_open_online_course&oldid=703468094