Developing country MOOC users not like those in the U.S.

02 May

Unlike in the U.S., completion and certification rates are actually growing for developing country MOOC users

By Ronald Bethke

A new study from researchers at the University of Washington has revealed that half of developing country MOOC users are receiving certification. And while many assume that the main barrier to developing country MOOC use is lack of technology skills or access, the huge barrier to sign-up has nothing to do with technology, say non-users.

These are just of the interesting statistics gleaned from a survey of 1,400 MOOC users and 2,250 non-users between the ages of 18 and 35 in Colombia, the Philippines and South Africa–part of research conducted by the Technology & Social Change Group (TASCHA) at the University of Washington’s Information School. The data shows that learners in developing countries are using MOOCs very differently than their developed world counterparts. Namely, it found that these learners have much higher MOOC completion rates as well as different user demographics.

“Many people assumed that in developing countries, MOOCs would only be used by the rich and well-educated,” said lead researcher Maria Garrido, a research assistant professor at TASCHA. “We were excited to find that this is not the case. Many users come from low- and middle-income backgrounds with varying levels of education and technology skills.”

As it turns out, less than half of the MOOC users surveyed had even completed college, with a quarter of MOOC users reporting high school as their highest level of education completed. This is striking compared to the 71 percent of college graduate users found in a 2015 study from edX that had nearly a third of its respondents based in the U.S.

Despite the developing world users’ lower education levels, though, it was found that they had much higher completion and certification rates. In fact, 49 percent of MOOC users surveyed had received certification for at least one course, and that rate jumped to an even higher 70 percent when limited to employed respondents. In addition to that 49 percent who received certification, another 30 percent of users reported completing at least one course.

[ Full article available at eCampus News: ]



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