The Impact and Reach of MOOCs: A Developing Countries’ Perspective

Posted: June 6, 2013 in Moodle MOOC posts

eLearningPapers published an interesting article on the constraints of developing countries access to Internet and to MOOCs.

«‘Access’ to digital technologies in parts of developing countries (for example, other than the capital and metropolitan areas) are still insufficient to support online learning (Liyanagunawardena, 2012). Together with the lack of international language and computer literacy, online learning even in its simplest form becomes a challenge to a large proportion of developing countries’ population (Liyanagunawardena, 2012). The use of multiple learning spaces, overload of information and cultural sensitivity are some other aspects of MOOCs that poses great challenges to learners from developing countries. Even though there is a rhetoric that MOOCs will offer opportunity to and be embraced by learners from developing countries’ who currently lack direct access to learning opportunities, especially at higher levels, in reality it may well be serving only the ‘privileged’ in developing countries who already have ‘access’ to digital technologies and international language learning (Liyanagunawardena, Adams, Rassool, & Williams, 2011). There is insufficient data on MOOC participants’ demographics to tease out the level of participation from rural areas of developing countries. Future data collections from MOOC participants could support further investigations of developing countries participation in MOOCs to understand the uptake of MOOCs in developing countries illuminating our understanding.
So, while some, even a significant number, of individuals in developing countries may benefit substantially from the appearance and success of MOOCs, there is significant doubt that in their current form they will provide a significant platform for expanding the higher education needs of developing countries to match the expansion of opportunities in the developed world over the last few decades.»


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