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Researchers: MOOCs Need to Mature More Before Becoming a Valuable Educational Tool

Researchers: MOOCs Need to Mature More Before Becoming a Valuable Educational Tool

A handful of Stanford researchers have analyzed the value of online courses- specifically MOOCs (massive open online courses)- and have concluded that while there are benefits to online learning, the courses are not the "cure all" to education leaders had hoped for.

"Completion rates remain low. Even offering high-level online classes from major universities doesn't necessarily work; without a solid academic background, the classes may be too difficult for many students to follow," Stanford professors John Mitchell, Candace Thille and Mitchell Stevens found, according to

So as opposed to being a massive resource for anyone with internet access, the researchers found that MOOCs have become primarily an educational tool for college-educated men from industrialized countries.

The researchers also dubbed student interaction with MOOCs in their current state as too passive or simple "to be useful to the science of learning."

The true value of MOOCs, the researchers say, is for helping experts understand more about how students learn.

"The action in the MOOC world now, the researchers said, is learning about learning. 'I think that's what the technology is really valuable for,' Thille said," according to the article.

"Despite the disappointments of MOOCs, Stevens remains optimistic: 'We're looking at a future of lifelong education online. Much of that will come at little or no cost to learners. How can that be a bad thing?'"

Read the full story here.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor


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