Who are the learners?

According a 2014 report by Hollands and Tirthali, typical learners in a MOOC are young—under 30 if from a developing country. In addition, almost 90 per cent are degree holders; up to 40 per cent have master’s degrees, and about five per cent have doctoral degrees. A primary motivation for participating is to gain additional skills and a better job.

We should note that this 2014 snapshot of learner demographics reflects the historical development of MOOCs, from universities with a reputation for technological innovation that were easily able to attract young professionals to their online offerings. However, MOOCs have the potential to reach and meet the needs of a wide demographic by catering to the academic, professional and/or skills-training needs of learners at all stages of their educational development.


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A Policy Brief on MOOCs by Commonwealth of Learning is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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