The Massive Impact That MOOCs Have On The Lifetime Learner

This post is provided by guest blogger, Andraya Goodwin, a graduate student at the University of St. Francis in Joliet, Il., MS in Training and Development program.

Do you consider yourself a Lifetime Learner? Do you find yourself constantly subscribing to newsletters, downloading language apps and following industry trends on social media? Well my friend, have I got a treat for you!

I am enrolled in a graduate studies program, and it is pretty safe to assume that my classmates and I possess the self-motivation needed to conquer a new learning challenge. I mean, we voluntarily enrolled in our program, practically asking our professors to add more responsibility to our plate, fill up our schedules, and challenge us intellectually.

When completing course assignments, we have a plethora of internet sources at our fingertips, but allow me to focus your endless search to a handy learning support tool known as MOOCs.

What is a MOOC?

Simonson, Smaldino, and Zvacek (2015) define MOOC as a “Massive Open Online Course” (pg.178). They go on to say that “The instructional materials [of MOOCs] are often open-source resources that provide opportunities for participants to explore a vast array of ideas” (pg.178).

After further researching MOOCs, I landed on and learned that the concept was initially founded by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and is now offered by their collaborative nonprofit platform, EdX. The goal of the company is to be an “open-source learning destination offering online courses for more than 100 member institutions.”

Why Are MOOCs Useful?

I love MOOCs, seriously, who can argue with free education? Especially, when many of The 20 Most Popular MOOCs are developed by some of the top educational institutions in the world. Heavy hitters such as Stanford University, Yale University, The University of Michigan, and Harvard University just to name a few!

MOOCs come in all shapes and sizes, and vary vastly from topic-to-topic. As with any article, course, or source of information, it is important to be certain that the information is coming from a reliable source. Ed Tech Magazine provides a list of popular MOOC platforms that you can use to begin your search.

Resources such as MOOCs can greatly benefit the lifelong learner. Free, accessible learning is a right of any individual willing to dedicate the time to master a new subject. To learn more about the available evidence on the impact of MOOCs on students, check out this article by The Harvard Business Review.

MOOCs and You

As you begin your search for the perfect MOOC, take a look at your syllabi to scope out future topics that will be covered throughout your courses, and enroll in a MOOC dedicated to that topic to help you gain a leg up on the information!

So my fellow students, here’s to lifelong learning, free education, and more interesting dinner table discussions thanks to all the knowledge we will gain from MOOCs!


EAB. (2018). The 20 most popular MOOCs. Retrieved from URL

Simonson, M, Smaldino, S.,& Zvacek, S. (2015). Teaching and learning at a distance:  Foundations of distance education (6th ed.).North Carolina: Information Age     Publishing.

Swope, J., (2014). A comparison of five free MOOC platforms for educators. Retrieved from  URL

Zhenghao, C., Alcorn, B., Christensen, G., Eriksson, N., Koller, D., & Emanuel, E. (2015).     Who’s benefiting from MOOCs, and why. Retrieved from URL

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