What Is MOOC-Based Learning?

Advantages And Disadvantages Of MOOCs
Summary: Various kinds of eLearning courses are in vogue these days. MOOCs are one of them.

Advantages And Disadvantages Of MOOCs

MOOC stands for Massive Open Online Course. These courses are hosted on a portal. MOOCs have a lot of reading material, lectures, and videos so users can refer to all of them to enhance their learning.

MOOCs are all about learning at your own pace. The learners can log on to the portal whenever they wish and access the course. MOOCs were developed for the first time by Peter Norvig and Sebastian Thrun from Stanford University in 2008. This course was accessed by 160,000 people, the largest in the world’s history to view a course. The development of MOOCs is made possible by the online exchange of information by experts through social networking platforms. The resources are also accessible without any cost through a search engine like Google, Yahoo, etc. MOOCs have the biggest advantage in that students can access them without any cost.

There are two kinds of MOOCs which exist nowadays. There are cMOOCs (connectivist Massive Online Learning Courses) where there is a joint development of the course material by the students and the teachers. Such collaborative development is there so that the materials are apt for the future learning of students.

xMOOCs (extended Massive Online Open Courses) have a specified course structure as per which the course must be finished. So, they have the aim that the user has to get a certification after studying the subject matter. Hence, they consist of lectures and problems. There is a cost associated with getting the certificates and materials for these courses. Unlike the case of the cMOOCs, student collaboration in such courses is quite limited. It's just limited to consulting each other to ask questions and provide help.

Advantages Of MOOCs

  • You can learn from your friends through a social networking site.
  • Access to the course is free of cost
  • Material is advocated by top professors
    The course material of MOOCs has been selected by top professors in universities.
  • Allows you to learn different languages
    Since language-based learning is also available in MOOCs, they prepare students for entrance tests in various languages.
  • Such courses offer admission to everybody
    It's true that MOOCs are available for everybody who can't attend regular courses either due to time or financial constraints. Sometimes, the course you want to enroll in is not taught at your college so you have to go to a MOOC provider to study the course.
  •  Choose a major
    If you are unable to decide on a major in college, then you can test yourself in a MOOC first. This will give you first-hand knowledge about the subject you are willing to study in college. You can get to know through a MOOC how interesting is that subject, rather than choosing that course in college and wasting your time and money.

Disadvantages Of MOOCs

  • High attrition rates
    One of the biggest disadvantages is that students are not interested in completing the course. This is because they don’t have the inclination to do so because they have not paid any fees. When the attrition rate was studied in some Massive Open Online Courses, it was found to be high. The attrition rate in such courses was high, and only 15% of the enrolled students completed the course. The attrition rate was due to students studying in cohorts so that if one student in the cohort dropped out, the others dropped out too. Another reason why the students didn’t complete the course was that since no college credit was offered students were not encouraged to finish it.
  • Not meant for students with disabilities
    Learners who have visual disabilities can't be made to go through such courses.
  • No special attention
    The students if they don’t understand a topic, can't get special attention from the tutor.
  • Unable to pay attention
    Students are unable to pay attention to such courses because they just have to browse through the course material. There is no animation in the course material. There is also no introduction given. Sometimes, although the course was cited as free, there were costs incurred in the form of readings required from books as advised by the course designer.
  • No requirements for signing up for the course
    There is no age requirement for admission to a course. You can sign up for it without any age requirement and hence study what you want to.


Editor's Note: Ready to reap the rewards of MOOCs that were highlighted in this article? Check out our eLearning Course Marketplaces directory to find the ideal learning experiences for your audience. You can also read other resources about MOOcs to explore the ins and outs, as well as weigh the pros and cons. We cover everything from creating learner persona portraits and designing MOOCs for higher education to launching a successful online academy.