The MOOC Decade. 380 million students later.

1000+ Universities, 30,000 courses, 50 Degrees and counting.

Education Intelligence Unit

calendar image
February 5, 2020

MOOCs started the last decade as a proof of concept and finished with 380 million students taking over 30 thousand courses and 50 degrees from over 1000 Universities globally.

HolonIQ indexes millions of ‘Signals’ (News Articles, Analyst Notes and Top Tier Blogs) spanning the last decade to zoom out and look for patterns explaining the evolution of how we got to where we are today or pointing to scenarios and potential directions global education may head in the future.

We analysed the flow and sentiment of signals about MOOCs over the last decade as we contemplate how these platforms will evolve over the next 10 years and help to shape online post-secondary education and training.

But first, some context.

Quick History

The first MOOC, ‘Connectivism and Connective Knowledge/2008 (CCK8)’ was offered in 2008 by Stephen Downes and George Siemens, but the platforms we still call MOOC’s today (which we put into our OPX Meta-Category) were initiated by a group of Stanford professors.

In 2012, Sebastian Thrun announced his ‘Introduction to Artificial Intelligence’ MOOC and within a few weeks had nearly 200,000 registered students – Udacity was born. Not long after, Andrew Ng and Daphne Koller founded Coursera, followed quickly by edX, founded by Harvard and MIT. Within a year, the big three MOOC providers, Udacity, Coursera, and edX, had nearly 5 million users globally. UK’s Open University launched Futurelearn’s first course in September 2013 and within a year, they had over 1 million course registrations. One month later XuetangX was launched as the first Chinese MOOC platform, initiated by Tsinghua University and the MOE Research Center for Online Education.

2013 saw the emergence of Miríada X for Latam, Open Learning for Southeast Asia and Oceania. India launched Swayam in 2014 and the rest is history as they say.

Signals Analytics

2012 marked an explosive year for MOOCs, bursting into the mainstream media. By October, the New York Times had proclaimed 2012 “The year of the MOOC”.  By 2013, MOOCs had become a worldwide phenomenon and by Q2 2015 some very big predications had been made and ‘disruption fatigue’ had well and truly set in.

At this low point for positive sentiment, a critical mass had declared MOOCs to be a failed experiment. Meanwhile, by 2016 MOOCs had reached over 50 million students globally, and the platforms were amassing partners, incredible insight on learners and evolving their business models.

Since 2017 the volume of signals about MOOCs was declining as the model was generally accepted and found it’s place at the post-secondary table. The market, whilst curious about credentials, had turned its focus back to degrees, only to discover years later MOOCs were ahead of the curve and building both institutional and corporate partnerships and capability through this period.

2019 finished the year with a bang as Coursera became a Unicorn raising $103 million in Venture Capital, led by SEEK in Australia, who not a month later announced a $65m investment in FutureLearn for a 50% stake in the platform. The size of the investments and inferred confidence in the MOOC platforms future caught many by surprise and led a sustained period of positive sentiment.

What’s the future of the MOOC model? How will these platforms evolve and what will be their place in the future post-secondary landscape? We will be tracking all of these questions and more over the next decade and keep you posted.

No items found.
No items found.
No items found.

Latest Insights

Global Insights from HolonIQ’s Intelligence Unit. Powered by our Global Impact Intelligence Platform.

Summits
Summits
Impact 3000
Impact 3000
Nuclear
Nuclear
Mobility
Mobility
Electric Vehicles
Electric Vehicles
2021
2021
2020
2020
Sub Saharan Africa
Sub Saharan Africa
Nordic Baltic
Nordic Baltic
North America
North America
South Asia
South Asia
East Asia
East Asia
ANZ
ANZ
Market Sizing
Market Sizing
Augmented Reality
Augmented Reality
Blockchain
Blockchain
Virtual Reality
Virtual Reality
Regions
Regions
Markets
Markets
Mobile
Mobile
Client Report
Client Report
Publishers
Publishers
Labor Markets
Labor Markets
Global Landscape
Global Landscape
10 Charts Series
10 Charts Series
R&D
R&D
LMS
LMS
United Kingdom
United Kingdom
Executive Panel
Executive Panel
Language Learning
Language Learning
Russia
Russia
Israel
Israel
Germany
Germany
France
France
Media and Press
Media and Press
Climate Tech
Climate Tech
MENA
MENA
South Korea
South Korea
Japan
Japan
Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia
Health Tech
Health Tech
Global EdTech 1000
Global EdTech 1000
Unicorns
Unicorns
MOOCs
MOOCs
Global Giants
Global Giants
Client Note
Client Note
Capital Markets
Capital Markets
Advanced Technology
Advanced Technology
OPM
OPM
International Education
International Education
India
India
China
China
Canada
Canada
Venture Capital
Venture Capital
Bootcamps
Bootcamps
Online learning
Online learning
Notes
Notes
Europe
Europe
Asia
Asia
Africa
Africa
LATAM
LATAM
Brazil
Brazil
Robotics
Robotics
Education in 2030
Education in 2030
Artificial Intelligence
Artificial Intelligence
SDG 17
SDG 17
SDG 16
SDG 16
SDG 15
SDG 15
SDG 14
SDG 14
SDG 13
SDG 13
SDG 12
SDG 12
SDG 11
SDG 11
SDG 10
SDG 10
SDG 9
SDG 9
SDG 8
SDG 8
SDG 7
SDG 7
SDG 6
SDG 6
SDG 5
SDG 5
SDG 4
SDG 4
SDG 3
SDG 3
SDG 2
SDG 2
SDG 1
SDG 1
Climate Tech 1000
Climate Tech 1000
Health Tech 1000
Health Tech 1000
EdTech 1000
EdTech 1000
EdTech
EdTech
Diversity
Diversity
New Zealand
New Zealand
Australia
Australia
United States
United States
Biotechnology
Biotechnology
Environment
Environment
Infrastructure
Infrastructure
Energy
Energy
Climate
Climate
Workforce
Workforce
K12
K12
Higher Education
Higher Education
Education
Education
Early Childhood
Early Childhood

Sign up for our free weekly newsletters

Join 80,000+ free weekly newsletter subscribers.