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EPALE - Piattaforma elettronica per l'apprendimento degli adulti in Europa


MOOC – the untapped potential we are slowly becoming aware of!

di Maruša Mohorič
Lingua: EN
Document available also in: SL EL FR HU ET NL RO

MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses) are a part of the e-learning process and, as such, enable a large number of participants to simultaneously follow the educational process (summarised from MOOC can cover extremely heterogeneous subject areas. Abroad, they are often prepared by prestigious universities and professors.

To 2019, Coursera, one of the largest providers of online courses, has recorded over 35 million applications and the course with the largest number of participants (240,000). The first MOOC were free of charge for the participants. In recent years, an increasing number of MOOC have been charging a certain fee or payment for the grade leading to a badge or a completion certificate. In 2019, the aforementioned Coursera also charged for its courses, with the prices of each individual course ranging between USD 29 and USD 99 (Bates, 2016, page 216).

Nevertheless, numerous contents are still free of charge (some of them are only payable if the participants wish to obtain a certificate at the end), and it would be a shame if the users didn't know about them and use them.

"Today, we'll MOOC around for a while," I said as I stepped in front of a group of young adults participating in a course teaching life skills through various activities.

At first, they were surprised and did not know what I was talking about, but as soon as I introduced them to the basic characteristics of MOOC, they started paying attention and asking questions. The participants in this group had different education experiences; what they had in common was that none of them was especially pleasant or inspiring. These participants were school drop-outs who generally had a good knowledge of the English language and an extremely broad scope of interests. "Classical" school simply didn't interest them, and they didn't find their place there. One of the participants was also an incredibly artistically gifted boy who had won one of the European drawing contests. Another was a girl interested in literature with a very vivid imagination and an interest in creative writing. All in all, a very wide variety of people who didn't like classical school but were more than eager to acquire knowledge in a specific field of interest. The digital skills of the participants in this group were also relatively well-developed, and since the programme provided them with sufficient software and access to the Internet, I was able to introduce them to the opportunity of an independent, different approach to learning than the one they were used to in school.
I introduced them to the FutureLearn platform, and most of them immediately got interested, completed their registration, and picked a MOOC of their choice. In addition, most of them also expressed the desire to follow the same learning principle in school.

MOOC represent a broad scope of untapped potential in the field of education. In other countries, well-known and renowned universities are aware of the fact that they can assert their trademark and status through MOOC, a way of acquiring knowledge at a high quality level accessible to all. Bregar et al., 2020, 2012).

In 2017, Bregar and Puhek prepared an analysis of the situation in the field of digitalisation and e-learning in higher education in Slovenia. Based on the registry of the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport, 101 high education institutions were invited to participate in the survey, and 45 of these institutions that duly completed the survey were considered for the final analysis. The authors discovered that Slovenian higher education institutions lag behind when it comes to the use of MOOC: in Slovenia, just under 10% of the higher education institutions considered in the survey were using them in 2017, while they were used by one quarter of higher education institutions in other European countries as early as 2014 (Bregar and Puhek, 2017).
The situation we're currently in has shown us that digital skills are extremely important. Practically overnight, some of educational establishments have had to find different ways of e-learning in order to continue with their pedagogical process. And, of course, they wanted to do so! The coronavirus epidemic definitely opened our eyes and showed us that distance education is not only a possibility but also brings numerous advantages. At the same time, however, it also revealed its handicaps that also appear in general during the introduction of MOOC into the education system.
At the global level, Slovenia is considered the reference country in the field of opening-up its education area by introducing the OER system (Bregar et al., 2020, page 217). Personally, I would like for the situation we have found ourselves in to help us realise that e-learning, in all its forms and with all of its advantages, could become better represented, especially when it comes to tertiary and adult education.

In my opinion, MOOC are an excellent opportunity for self-learning and becoming acquainted with a certain subject or a certain course provider. I would recommend MOOC to everyone who wishes to see whether they are actually interested in a certain subject and wish to pursue it, e.g. during later studies, or to those who only wish to understand what online learning looks like.

Maruša Mohorič is a keen adherent of adult education who occasionally finds herself in the role of the leader of a group of learners. She is also a member of the National Support Service EPALE Slovenia operating in the framework of CMEPIUS - The Centre of the Republic of Slovenia for Mobility and European Educational and Training Programmes (Erasmus+ National Agency) .



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Commenti 1 - 10 di 13
  • Ritratto di Dóra Czirfusz
    There is a great opportunity for those Hungarians, who would like to attend MOOC in their mother tongue.
    Magyar nyelven a Kárpát-Medencei Online Oktatási Centrum (K-MOOC) szervezésében is találunk nyílt hozzáférésű kurzusokat, ahol több, mint 30 magyar, illetve határon túli felsőoktatási intézmény kurzuskínálatából választhatunk: 
  • Ritratto di Theognosia Petrou
    Όντως τα MOOC είναι μια εξαιρετική ευκαιρία για αυτομάθηση. Χρειάζεται να γίνει καλύτερη προώθηση και ενσωμάτωση των MOOCs στο χώρο της εκπαίδευσης.
  • Ritratto di Maruša Mohorič
    Dear Theognosia,
    thank you very much for reading through my blog and commenting.
    According to "Google Translate Tool" :), which I used to translate your comment, you agree that MOOC are a great opportunity for self learning. 
    I hope they will be more recognized and used also in the post COVID-19 era.
    Kind regards,
  • Ritratto di Kadi Kass
    Hi, Maruša, 

    Thank You for the interesting subject! I'm a fan of MOOC's myself, I took a course "MOOC - why, whom and how" some years ago and created with my team one MOOC about information literacy myself.
    Since your article was published also in Estonian, I shared with readers in the comment below some links about MOOC's that are available in Estonian as well in addition to the ones in English. But we also have in Estonia some MOOC's in English and free of charge, I'll share with You that information as well:
    Auditing Water Issues and Auditing Waste Management will be open upcoming autumn term. 
    Some other Tartu University MOOC's in English have just ended but in case you are only interested in the subject and resources available and not getting the certificate for the course, feel free to take a look. 

    Stay safe and have fun with online courses!
  • Ritratto di Maruša Mohorič
    Hi Kadi,
    thank you for reading through my blog and commenting!
    Great to hear that you are enthusiast about MOOC. I checked links, you've shared and I appreciate to have an opportunity to broaden my horizon... 

    Regards form Slovenia,

  • Ritratto di Kadi Kass

    Suurepäranet teema! Minu arvates on väga oluline tutvustada praegusel ajal erinevaid e-õppe võimalusi, eriti tore veel, kui need on tasuta. 
    Lisaks arvukatele võõrkeelsetele moocidele üle maailma on selliseid massilisi ehk kõigile soovijatele avatud e-kursusi tehtud juba mitmeid aastaid ka Eestis. Kõige menukaim Tartu ülikooli MOOC on olnud Arvutiteaduste instituudis Eno Tõnissoni eestvedamisel loodud e-kursus "Programmeerimisest maalähedalt", mis on toimunud juba 10 aastat ja teinud it-tarkusi puust ja punaseks selgeks 10000le eestimaalasele. Koroonakriisi ajal oli võimalik distantsilt õppida nii "Psühholoogia alused", "Tehisintellekti algkursust" ja  kui ka näiteks olulist sotsiaalset teemat käsitlev e-kursus "Eakate vägivallaohvrite tuvastamine ja toetamine". Üks sellekevadistest avatud e-kursustest, "Ravimitest maakeeli" pälvis ka E-kursuse kvaliteedimärgi 2020. 
    Eelolevatest moocidest rääkides aga on oktoobris algamas infootsingu põhioskusi suurendav tasuta e-kursus "Infopädevus" ning jaanuaris on võimalus uusi teadmisi omandada sellisel teemal nagu "Geenid - müüdid ja tegelikkus". 
    Ehk "kohtumegi" mõnel e-kursusel?

  • Ritratto di Dimitris Kiriakos
    According to many education experts, MOOC;s will be the standard in the future...
    Especially the VOOC's (Vocational Open Online Courses) which will be custom made for Professionals.
    An example is the BLISS Project ( ) which is Blockchain skills for ict professionals  that uses a VOOC platform to give updated knowledge in the new area of "Blockchain "
  • Ritratto di Demos Michael
    Πράγματι, πολύ ενδιαφέρον άρθρο και οπτική για την εξ αποστάσεως εκπαίδευση. Κάθε πρόκληση (π.χ. COVID19) μας δίνει την ευκαιρία να ανακαλύψουμε νέο ανεξερεύνητο έδαφος. Τα πλεονεκτήματα της εξ αποστάσεως εκπαίδευσης είναι πολλά, αρκεί να αξιοποιηθεί σοφά.
  • Ritratto di Marija Elena Borg
    You are right! In 2012, the New York Times announced that it was the “Year of the MOOC”. However, it is highly probable that we will look back and remember 2020 as the year when online/virtual education became mainstream.
  • Ritratto di Maruša Mohorič
    Hi Maria Elena,
    thank you for your comment. I think a year 2020 will forever be marked in our mind and memory as a year of change and challenges. I truly hope this era can bring positive changes, also on the field of education. I some cases e-learning can be the only possible way for accessing education. It is good to know e-learning possibilities and use them for advantage.

    Kind regards,