Education ForumEducation

Open Learning at a Distance: Lessons for Struggling MOOCs

Science  20 Dec 2013:
Vol. 342, Issue 6165, pp. 1450-1451
DOI: 10.1126/science.1239686

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Summary

Free education is changing how people think about learning online. The rise of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) (1) shows that large numbers of learners can be reached. It also raises questions as to how effectively they support learning (2). There is a timeliness in the introduction of MOOCs, reflecting the right combination of online systems, interest from good teachers in reaching more learners, and banks of digital resources, predicted as a “perfect storm of innovation” (3). However, learning at scale, at a distance, is not a new phenomenon. Seeing MOOCs narrowly as a technology that expands access to in-classroom teaching can miss opportunities. Drawing on decades of lessons learned, we set out aims to help spur innovation in science education.