MOOC, learning for everyone

SOUL

When people say that the world is changing, it might sound a bit clichéd, but the world really is changing faster than ever. This is no truer than in the world of learning, in the last 15 years alone, over than 200 precedents have been created. The internet has not just democratized learning but has also brought access to information and learning closer and more easily available. At the start, if this century, universities and some companies based their training processes on face-to-face classes, laboratory work, work placements or simulators.   

A clear example of these changes became apparent around 5 years ago, with the EDX platform which began to offer Massive Open Online Courses or MOOCs, although originally created in 2006, since 2013 these courses have provided a new form of remote learning, permitting access to an unlimited number of participants from all over the world, just through having access to the internet. These new courses do not just offer video classes, recommended reading of books, essays or tutor notes, exercises, exams and different activities, but also allows the user access to forums where both instructors and students can interact with each other. You no longer have to be present to benefit from access to the best professors or best learning institutions. Although the original philosophy was to offer more open courses, little by little the main providers have started to offer more paid courses in exchange for certifications, such as nano degrees.    

The success of this type of learning has increased the relevance of these websites, leading the way for platforms such as EDX, Udacity or Coursera, which have hundreds of thousands of students taking part in both paid and free courses. The key to their growth lies in the way in which we perceive learning in the Twenty-First Century, abandoning more structured certifications to look for a learning method which is more focused on the needs of the industry 4.0, in a more transversal and less detached manner.    

Universities and especially important digital companies such as Google, Amazon, Apple, and Boeing have started to more actively collaborate with MOOCs, with the aim of developing more useful and professional courses which are increasingly more valued in their fields of service. 

Nevertheless, as stated at the start of this article, the world is changing at an ever-increasing rate, and while MOOCs are growing, they have revolutionized to such an extent that they are beginning to break under their own weight. This includes the use of just MOOC materials (not the full courses) in Flipped Classrooms, and some universities beginning to share or sell MOOC content to other universities, with some learning institutions even offering courses on the development of MOOCs.    

As you can see, the education and teaching world is evolving so fast that its most innovative tools, in a short space of time, are being split up into separate components which are making their own way in the market, completely independent from their mother product. MOOCs will remain to have a large presence and will change the way in which regulated learning is seen, however, different products which used to form part of the course shall start to nurture the dissemination of information in training courses, improving the training offered to all professionals in the future.

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