MOOCs and online education: Exploring the potential for international educational development

Massive open online courses (MOOCs) are a relatively recent innovation with potential to provide access to relevant education and workforce training at scale. RTI previously studied MOOCs in the context of the US market, and determined that more efforts are needed to examine the prospect of MOOC use in developing economies. This paper defines MOOCs and contrasts MOOCs with previously established forms of online learning and open educational resources. It concludes that although MOOCs have potential for expanding access to important educational content and resources, currently they favor more privileged and educated individuals. Further evolution of ICT infrastructure, platforms and pedagogical models is needed before common MOOC models can meet the needs of the majority of learners in developing economies.