What do participants think of today’s MOOCs: an updated look at the benefits and challenges of MOOCs designed for working professionals

  • Min LiuEmail author
  • Wenting Zou
  • Yi Shi
  • Zilong Pan
  • Chenglu Li


Literature on MOOCs has shown that understanding learners’ perspectives in taking MOOCs is critical if a MOOC needs to be successful. Now that MOOCs have been in wide use, in this study we took an updated look at learners’ perspective of taking MOOCs designed for working professionals and course aspects that these MOOC participants found beneficial. General interest in the topic, personal growth and enrichment, relevance to job, and career change were the top reasons for working professionals to enroll in MOOCs. First-time MOOC takers were more likely to seek a certificate, while MOOC veterans may complete most assignments but did not seek for a certificate. Quality materials from a reputable provider remains an important reason for working professionals to enroll in a MOOC. Offering meaningful ways for MOOC participants to interact with instructors and with each other calls for innovative designs than the current discussion forums in a learning management system can offer. This remains to be a big challenge for MOOC designers.


MOOCs Learners’ perspective Reasons MOOCs for working professionals Course features 



We would like to thank Professor Rosental Calmon Alves,
Director of Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas at the University of Texas at Austin for his encouragement and support for this research.


This study was not funded.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Learning Technologies Program, Department of Curriculum and InstructionThe University of Texas at AustinAustinUSA

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