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New Research Sheds Light on the Positives of MOOCs

rohanMassive Online Open Courses (MOOCs) have been a highly debated topic of conversation from their inception in 2008. Many have argued on both sides about how effective they really are, as well as criticized the percentage of people that use them.

However, in Harvard Business Review’s recent article Who’s Benefiting from MOOC’s, and Why, we see some very interesting statistics regarding its participants. The article argues that many of the skeptics are “overly pessimistic” and MOOCs provide real career and educational benefits for those who do complete the courses. The latest research shows that 72% of those surveyed reported career benefits and 61% reported educational benefits. Moreover, people from developing countries more frequently reported benefits from taking MOOCs.

In the chart “Who’s Getting Ahead at Work Because of MOOCs?” we can see some very interesting data. We can see that in non-OECD countries, the lower socioeconomic population as well as the lower educated population receives the most benefit from these programs. This data reveals if you are able to take and complete these courses in the developing world, you are most likely to receive real and tangible benefits. Furthermore, over 80% received intangible career benefits.


The overall takeaway from the article is that a very high percentage of people who complete MOOCs report benefits in either their career or their education. Furthermore, a “substantial proportion” reports tangible benefits, for example, getting hired for a new job, starting a company, etc. The highest rates of all of this come from developing countries.

One of our top goals here at GBSN is to strengthen the pool of talent in developing nations. These types of programs help facilitate access to proper training and educational material that is lacking in many of these countries. Although MOOCs are clearly not a one-stop-shop for all of the answers, they are definitely a step in the right direction.

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Rohan Munsif is the Programs Intern at Global Business School Network.