MOOCs: New Era of Learning With Online Courses

March 01, 2024

The best part of time is that it's not constant; it emerges and improves itself for better results, you take it negatively and think that the phase is the worst one. But believe in the line 'something bad happens for a good reason,' and COVID-19 proves this.

As the pandemic hits the ground and everyone is locked at in their home, from offices to temples and schools, every place is under lockdown. In this phase, the need for online learning and platforms that can provide learning at students' homes became necessary, as everything can be stopped, but education can't. The development of society depends on it. An educated person leads the whole society on the right path, or a person without knowledge can ruin society.

This need boosts MOOCs, which came into existence in 2008. Now, they are at the age where everyone is taking advantage, and education is reaching each corner of the world.

Online courses fulfill the dream of education of those students who couldn't get to school for many reasons, but online courses are becoming skilled and educated.

What is MOOCs?

It might be possible that you don't know about this term, but the fact is that you are using it already, even without knowing about it. How? To get the answer to this question, please answer this question first, 'Are you enrolled in any kind of online course or degree?' if the answer to this question is 'Yes,' then you are part of MOOCs, or we can say that you are already using MOOCs in your life.

Yeah! MOOCs refer to the term Massive Open Online Course, and its most significant objective is to provide the right to education and learning without making differences based on age, students with weak financial backgrounds, professionals, and many more.

MOOC is a model that allows students to learn online without worrying about attendance and skipping essential classes. It delivers online learning content to devices like phones, computers, laptops, etc.

What are the categories of MOOCs?

MOOCs are divided into two categories – cMOOCs and xMOOCs. MOOCs are further divided into two categories.


  • •  Connectivist Massive Open Online Courses (cMOOCs) prioritize collaborative learning in online networks.
  • •  Grounded in connectivism, they emphasize knowledge creation through participant interactions.
  • •  cMOOCs lack a fixed syllabus; content emerges from contributions within the community.
  • •  Participants engage across various platforms like blogs, wikis, and forums, shaping the course collectively.
  • •  Open to all, cMOOCs promote autonomy and self-directed learning.
  • •  Learners set their own goals and explore topics of interest independently.
  • •  Connectivity takes precedence over content delivery, fostering critical thinking and creativity.
  • •  cMOOCs offer dynamic, community-driven learning experiences beyond traditional classrooms.


  • •  eXtended Massive Open Online Courses (xMOOCs) follow a structured instructional format.
  • •  Content is organized into modules or units with a predetermined syllabus.
  • •  Instructors deliver lectures via video recordings, covering core concepts and examples.
  • •  Learners linearly progress through the material, accessing lectures asynchronously.
  • •  Assessments such as quizzes, assignments, and exams evaluate understanding.
  • •  Automation facilitates scalability to accommodate large numbers of learners.
  • •  Certificates of completion or achievement may be offered upon meeting course requirements.
  • •  Interactivity is limited compared to cMOOCs, with fewer opportunities for peer interaction.
  • •  Well-suited for learners seeking structured, guided learning experiences on specific topics within defined timeframes.

What does It require?

As told earlier, MOOC delivers online content, so all you need to have on your side to use MOOC properly is an internet connection and one smart device. Through these two things, you can access the infinite ocean of knowledge from every corner of the world, irrespective of which countries you are native to.

Internet Connection

Internet connection is the primary and very first need for MOOC; without it, you cannot access it. Yes, some MOOC platforms allow you to access their content offline as well, but firstly, you need to often download it or purchase its subscription online.

So, some platforms have offline facilities, but to avail of them, you need to go online first and get access to offline materials.

Smart Devices

In this era of technology, everyone is using smart devices; even their watches are smart. So, there are other things that are very difficult to get. You definitely use a smartphone if you don't have a laptop and computer. If you do so, you can easily access MOOC services on your phone without any problems or hindrances.

Remember that smartphones and internet connections are boons for MOOCs, not obligations.

What are the Features of MOOC?

Before we tell you the benefits it offers to you as a learner, firstly, we need to know about its unique features, which make it better than the traditional way of learning. Its features are its USP as well, which makes it the need of the hour and technological era.

Here are some key features of MOOCs:-

Sense of Personalization

MOOCs give you a sense of personalization as you can decide what you want to learn, how you will learn it, which time you will learn, and what you need to be focused on more.

With the help of artificial intelligence, many MOOC platforms are designing programs and courses for their users according to their needs. These platforms show them a dashboard that gives information about the performance of users and tells them on which topic they are weak and need to focus more on.

Along with this, MOOC platforms also allow you to choose the best course that suits your personality and needs for your professional enhancement.

A combination of all these things makes MOOCs more personalized and user-oriented.

Flexible Like an Elastic

In a traditional way of learning, you must attend your class at the pre-decided time or schedule irrespective of whether you are free at that time or facing any unexpected situation or emergency. If you skip the class, you will not allowed to learn the same thing again from the instructor. But MOOCs work according to you; you are the one who decides when you will take the class and how many times you will learn the same chapter or course.

This feature makes it flexible, like elastic, as you can decide how and when to learn.

Explore the World on Fingers

The best thing about MOOCs is that you can learn and study online courses across the world without the need to commute to your native country; if you are living in the Philippines, you can quickly learn popular business courses in Canada, Australia, America, and whatever countries course you want to know.

From your fingers and with the help of your phone, you can study through global universities at reasonable and affordable prices.

Study With Less Cost

Mostly, MOOC platforms are subscription-based, or they charge for the courses only without hidden charges involved. This makes them affordable and cost-effective, as you don't need to pay charges like academics, sports, canteen, infrastructure, and many more, which you need to bear in traditional learning.

Along with this, you don't need to commute or travel, which means you are saving traveling allowance as well.

Learn As well As Earn

You can study these online courses while you are already doing a job; you don't need to quit your current job, which allows you to learn as well as earn on the other side. With this, you can afford your study expenses independently without needing someone else to bear them.

The list of its unique features is too long, but those mentioned above are the best and represent the real identity of MOOCs. Now, let's forward to the advantages or, you can say, the benefits of it.

What are the Benefits of MOOCs?

Here are some quick points that are enough to tell you why MOOCs are best and what they offer to you:-

  • •  MOOC courses are both paid and free.
  • •  Learning materials available across the web.
  • •  Flexible learning materials, timetable, and techniques.
  • •  Preparation for formal education
  • •  REINFORCE learning
  • •  Boots your professional skills and adds more certifications to your profile.
  • •  Unlimited access to job opportunities
  • •  Ultimate platform for professionals
  • •  Infinite sources to learn and study
  • •  Avail financial aid to some specific students.

All these benefits make MOOCs the best for two types of learners, first, those who want to continue learning irrespective of their age, and second, those who want to learn and earn both simultaneously.

Okay, so the time is here to tell you why MOOCs are the best alternative for traditional learning.

What is the difference between Traditional Learning and MOOC?

Let's find out why MOOCs are better than Traditional Learning and what makes the best alternative for learning.



Traditional Learning


They are comparatively more cost-effective and affordable as you don't need to pay hidden and unnecessary charges.

This includes many extra charges and fee structures like you need to pay for the use of infrastructure, college, and school.


They are flexible, as you can choose to learn on Coursera when you want to schedule your class. It works according to your time.

You must take classes according to the timetable or schedule your college or instructor decides.

Supportive Towards Job

You quickly learn online while doing the job.

You need to quit your job to study.

Need to Travel

You don't need to travel to take classes; you can even study while traveling to your office or late at night.

You need to reach your college and take physical classes.

Study From Global Universities

You don't need to shift to another country from where you want to do coursework, like Coursera offers you courses from global universities, without commuting.

The need to take an educational Visa to study will also increase the cost of learning.


These will add the skills and certificates to your professional profiles; you can do as many courses as you want.

These are limited to some sort of levels, like the more you can do a master's degree or more over a Ph.D.


Although MOOCs still offer some excellent features, there are challenges and concerns about their methodology, which need to be considered before choosing them.

What are the challenges of MOOCs?

Here are the following drawbacks and challenges of MOOCs that you should know about them so that you can make the right decision for your future:-

  • •  All the MOOC platforms do not offer university-branded certificates or degrees; this might question their legitimacy.
  • •  All courses are not free and sometimes must fit into the learner's budget.
  • •  They do not offer you physical copies of learning materials, which is unsuitable for those who still need to find the best books.
  • •  They do not provide you with specialization, like Ph.D. degrees.
  • •  Some platforms need to share information about their instructors, which could create a mist of doubt about the capability of instructors.
  • •  Technology is another drawback, as you need an internet connection; what if you are not in a region where good quality internet is unavailable?

What are the best MOOC platforms?

Here are some top MOOC platforms widely recognized for their quality content, diverse course options, and user-friendly interfaces:

Coursera: Renowned for its partnerships with universities and institutions worldwide, Coursera offers various courses across various subjects, including technology, business, humanities, and more. It provides certificates and degree programs, and its Specializations offer courses focused on specific topics.

edX: Founded by Harvard University and MIT, edX offers global courses from top universities and institutions. It covers various subjects, including computer science, languages, engineering, and humanities. EdX also provides MicroMasters programs and professional certificates.

Udemy: Known for its extensive library of courses taught by industry experts, Udemy covers diverse topics ranging from coding and IT to personal development and arts. It offers lifetime access to purchased courses, allowing learners to study at their own pace.

LinkedIn Learning (formerly Owned by LinkedIn, this platform provides high-quality video tutorials and courses on business, technology, and creative skills. It offers personalized learning paths, certificates of completion, and integration with LinkedIn profiles.

FutureLearn: Based in the UK, FutureLearn partners with universities and cultural institutions to offer courses in various subjects, including healthcare, social sciences, and business. It emphasizes social learning and discussion through its online community.

Khan Academy: Known for its focus on K-12 education, Khan Academy offers free courses and resources covering subjects such as math, science, economics, and humanities. It provides personalized learning experiences and is suitable for learners of all ages.

Coursera for Business: Coursera's enterprise platform offers curated content tailored for professional development within organizations. It provides access to courses, Specializations, and certifications relevant to business needs.

Time to make a Decision

All we can say is that if there is something good, then wrong as well, but just like humans, if we have good and bad qualities, it doesn't mean that we are not supposed to live on this planet. We are living with good and evil in MOOCs.

All we need to do is focus on our needs and wants according to our societal status. Yes, MOOCs are the best alternatives for traditional learning, but schools should never be replaced with in-house classrooms, as schools and universities give you more than an online classroom can give.

Along with this, it is also a fact that traditional learning also has some drawbacks as it does not allow you to learn and earn both simultaneously, it needs your whole focus and time, and it doesn't allow you to invest your time on something extra.

With features like personalization, cost-effectiveness, and many more, MOOCs could help you enhance your skills and career; you just need to give it a try.

We shared all the relevant information with you in this article. Now it's you who could make any decision. The ball is in your court.

Break a Leg!