Key Characteristics of MOOC: How Do They Impact Learning

June 29, 2021

MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) are dedicated to large-scale interaction and engagement. These courses belong to the section of distance learning (DL). These have evolved from traditional learning to a modern synergetic environment. Moreover, a MOOC is a basic element of knowledge transfer and transparent communication.

Distance learning brought along several attributes to online learning. One of the key characteristics of MOOCs is the interactive user forums and discussion groups. These forums and discussion groups help build a community for online learners, professionals, educators, consultants, and assistants. MOOC is the recent development in distance learning. These massive open online courses are based on efficiency and give 100 students access to an online class of one professor.

The lectures, assessments, tests, assignments, and evaluations for a course and the professor’s expertise behind the content are not inexpensive and are not unique to a specific university in several instances. In this article, we have tried to throw some light on the characteristics of MOOCs and their impact on learning.

Important characteristics of MOOCs

MOOCs are available for everyone. These are free and are usually provided by the most trusted and eminent institutions. These online courses emit certain specific characteristics. So without further ado, let’s take a deep dive into the characteristics of MOOCs.

MOOCs Use Web Formats

MOOCs heavily depend on web formats and there can be different types of MOOCs depending on the web formats. Most of the video content that is streamed, simulates the presence of a trainer. MOOCs also use live streams to build a virtual classroom. Sometimes, the online trainer can organize live sessions with the students using tools like Ustream or Hangouts. This is an opportunity for the students to get in touch with the trainer, ask questions and clear their queries.

Synergetic Learning

MOOCs can easily create an in-class environment that includes the use of collaborative tools. These open courses support the emergence of learning communities and offer a hybrid distribution of knowledge. Every participant can contribute to this and enrich the course. Q&A forums, social media groups, meetups, are used to encourage a synergetic learning environment.

Knowledge Assessment

In addition to the content designed to convey information, MOOCs also offer tools to assess the smooth transfer and knowledge retention. These online courses offer a dynamic and interactive environment in the form of multiple-choice questions, essays, programmed tests, and fun-filled quizzes. Apart from that, MOOCs also offer certificates to the learners who complete the courses.

Time Limits & Deadlines

Time limitations and deadlines are the final characteristics of MOOCs. These online courses have specified start and end dates. The course content such as documents, videos, exercises, quizzes, essays, and MCQs (multiple choice questions) is delivered every week. The courseware is spread overtime for the learners. It is also an effective means to ensure that these courses are just like the traditional courses with weekly classes and home assignments.

MOOCs have drastically changed the online education industry. This is opening doors to new learning opportunities, discussion methodologies, and a brighter future for modern learners. We have checked out the characteristics of MOOC and how it is different from a traditional classroom environment which brings us to a question. How does it affect learning? Let’s walk you through it!

How MOOCs Impact Learning

We have seen how MOOCs work and what characteristics they have. Now let’s check how the different characteristics of MOOCs impact modern learning.

Heightened Educational Hype Around Digital Future

Decades ago, our teaching top-level administrations engaged with questions and issues about higher education in a digital environment. Today, those debates and conversations only populate the strategy documents, campaign materials and streamline the information exchange between students, professors, and administrative staff daily. Technology is constantly evolving and so is online education. This has created a huge hype around the future of digital education.

New Horizon For The Enthusiasts

Research holds a very special place at the universities and institutions and MOOCs have always helped the faculty and teaching staff focus on the teaching and learning practices. The faculty creating MOOCs often have experience in deep research, understanding of the course design, and learning. MOOCs pave the way for experimenting with blended learning and help the faculty and course creators witness a new horizon of education.

Team-based Courseware

Creating MOOCs requires the content curators and designers to collaborate in ways keeping in mind the changing modern education. The domain experts and SMEs team up with designers, researchers, software developers, and videographers to create each module of a particular MOOC. This not only allows each person to contribute their expertise but also increases room for discussion.

New Dimension For Experimentation

There are several challenges and obstacles to creating MOOCs including extended decision-making and shared governance. These issues slow down the institutions to implement change. Researchers and online learning enthusiasts have found that the organizational structures designed around MOOCs provide ample space for experimentation. This allows the content curators to implement new changes and innovation in learning.

Final Verdict

Down the road, the hype around MOOCs may be dying but its momentum is still paving the way for increased experimentation with thoughtful and innovative ideas for higher education. The Digital era is changing the way modern learners interact with each other which is quite useful when it comes to collaborative learning. Hope you now know how important MOOCs have become in the digital learning space.

Coursera, Udemy, and other platforms can give you what you want, but if you need customized solutions for your business idea, then we’d love to help you. DRC Systems is an Open edX® partner and we develop customized MOOCs and other courses.
Contact us today for more information!


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