Online Learning and MOOCs: A Framework Proposal

  • Jamie Murphy
  • Nadzeya Kalbaska
  • Laurel Horton-Tognazzini
  • Lorenzo Cantoni
Conference paper


Decades of distance learning evolution and innovation, particularly due to the Internet and recently, Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), have led to industry and academic confusion about online learning nomenclature. This study takes a preliminary step in reducing the confusion, proposing a conceptual framework for categorising online learning. Drawing on content structure and interactivity, the paper proposes four categories of online learning: resources, tutorials, courses and MOOCs. These four categories serve as a base for illustrating five online learning variables—open versus closed access, cost, interactivity, recognition and assessment—which subsequently help clarify the framework of the four somewhat overlapping categories. The resultant framework gives industry and academia common ground for discussing online learning and for future research such as MOOC types and additional variables to consider, i.e., synchronicity, learning outcomes, openness, and self-direction.


Online learning Tourism training Distance education MOOCs eLearning 



This paper is an updated, expanded and improved version of an APacCHRIE 2014 manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jamie Murphy
    • 1
  • Nadzeya Kalbaska
    • 2
  • Laurel Horton-Tognazzini
    • 1
  • Lorenzo Cantoni
    • 2
  1. 1.Australian School of ManagementPerthAustralia
  2. 2.The Faculty of Communication SciencesUniversity of Italian SwitzerlandLuganoSwitzerland

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