May 8th, 2013 E-Learning

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) continue to gain momentum and prominence among the mainstream. I think I even recently saw someone list a MOOC course under their educational experience on their LinkedIN profile! With the steady rise in MOOCs, they are being considered on a more serious level – and in some cases being seen as a threat as traditional universities are forced into budget cuts.

My personal opinion on this matter is that MOOCs will elicit change, even if they are seen as a threat. Everyone knows that competition encourages innovations. Maybe these free elearning courses are what traditional universities need to further entice their offerings. It appears for now that the major institutions that are partaking in MOOCs are doing so to increase their brand. Perhaps there will be additional value to both the student and university over time – but we’re very much in the early phases with MOOCs.

What’s great about MOOCs, or distance learning for that matter, is that it makes continual education more accessible. With 4 out of 10 college students being over the age of 25 years old, the demands for a typical student are quite different than in the past. Most individuals that are 25 years old have jobs – heck careers – that they are also juggling. This means that the MOOC distance learning experiment is proving to be all that more interesting!

As I have mentioned before, I think that the MOOC distance learning model is a great way to offer alternative pre-requisite education to early university students. Allow for the first two years of a four year degree to take place virtually and you’re more likely to land that student for the final two years on the university’s campus. Still, time will tell what comes of the MOOC disruptive force!

What do you think? Have a look at this infographic by 20 Million Minds Foundation:


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About Justin Ferriman

Justin Ferriman started LearnDash, the WordPress LMS trusted by Fortune 500 companies, major universities, training organizations, and entrepreneurs worldwide for creating (and selling) their online courses. Justin's Homepage | Twitter

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You know that I respect your background and professional qualifications… however, this is just too much hype for “MOOCs” for me to refrain. Most of this infographic is about higher education in general with some reference to distance learning. Distance Learning is about 35+ years older than the first MOOC. So how can this misnomer be considered “disruptive?” Most MOOCs are developed by folks who are ignorant of distance learning and e-learning in general. Most proponents of MOOCs are the business/financial genre, who think there is some great untapped income potential. Current academic literature and research shows the majority of MOOCs to be sub-par when compared to existing online learning quality metrics.

The most “disruptive” aspect of MOOCs is the resources being expended to educate Americans that this is nothing new. In fact, most MOOCs are no more than an Internet version of VHS Classroom initiative of the 1970’s.

Sorry, but this is sore subject for. Institutions with “elite” qualifications are venturing boldly where professionals have already tread.

p.s. I actually do enjoy your posts, because they usually make me think (critically, I hope).

Well, actually distance education, having different modalities, is very old; just checked the work of U. of Wisconsin, Madison, with over 100 years of experience.

Justin , I love this info-graphic and thanks a lot for posting it. I specially love the concluding remarks- that MOOCs need not be threat to the traditional classes. The main concern is for the millions who do not have access to traditional classes because of prohibitive cost and remoteness. Since I started reading about MOOCs I have come across many skeptical remark about it. I desperately wish that all those misgivings are proved to be false and this effort to make education available universally evolve in such a way that it benefits the universities as well as the learners

I seldom participate as a student in a Coursera activity or others (Udacity …) but indeed I usually browse as a curious observer. Anyhow, I did participated fully during these past two months in three of them.

Besides the excellent material (content) I found, the courses were extremely well organized, filled with
appropriate multimedia resources, friendly and easy to navigate; I never got lost and always found what I needed.

I firmly believe that MOOC and specially eLearning in small groups with an eFacilitator will definitely grow while f-t-f will shrink in number.

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