While the Year of the MOOC didn’t pan out quite like The New York Times envisioned in 2012, there is still good news on the massive open online course front. A new study of 52,000 students who took at least one MOOC offered by Coursera found that 87% said they saw at least some career benefit from the class.
In addition, 33% of that group, which the study identified as “career builders,” said they turned the MOOC into a “tangible career benefit.”
“The tangible career benefit is a higher bar in some sense,” Gayle Christensen, assistant vice provost at the University of Washington, Seattle, and an author of the report, said in The Chronicle of Higher Education. “A third of people saying that they were able to make these clear next steps is actually something one should be optimistic about.”
The report, which looked at motivations for taking a MOOC and the educational and career results participants achieved, also found that 62% of the respondents in the career-builder category improved their work performance. The survey also identified “education-seekers” as a category and found that 88% gained general educational benefits and 18% said they received tangible educational benefits.
“Going into this, I wasn’t sure what we’d find,” Christensen said. “That those students are actually reporting career and educational benefits in higher numbers is pretty exciting.”