From disruption to innovation: thoughts on the future of MOOCs

Sherman Young*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


MOOCs have been heralded by some as disruptive of the higher education sector, but the reality is that they are examples of business rather than educational innovation. By enabling universities to focus on global scale and reach as they navigate the digital environment, current MOOCs mostly sustain existing learning practices rather than force pedagogical reconfiguration. Implementations to date have largely focussed on content delivery from superstar professors with little emphasis on the real needs of twenty-first century learners. We have reached a stage when all of our educational approaches need to be better suited for a new information ecology that has demonstrably different characteristics from the past. Information scarcity has given way to ubiquity and learners need the appropriate skills to thrive in a digital life and career - creativity, critical thinking, collaboration and communication. Whilst real innovation to address these challenges is already happening in both fully online and blended offerings at some institutions, they are not so common in the MOOC space. This paper argues that MOOCs offer an opportunity to truly disrupt learning at scale and become exemplars for real educational innovation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-43
Number of pages16
JournalVoprosy Obrazovaniya
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • cMOOC
  • connectivism
  • curricular design
  • digital age
  • disruption
  • innovation
  • MOOC
  • network
  • Silicon Valley
  • xMOOC


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