Edition 177 - January 2016

The year in MOOCs: A look back at 2015 trends

While the hype over massive open online courses (MOOCs) among education experts might be past its heyday, MOOC enrolment numbers are only now experiencing a true boom. A review of MOOCs statistics and trends in 2015 by Class Central, a website compiling course listings from MOOC providers, shows that MOOCs have doubled in popularity in 2015. Last year saw more people sign up than the previous three years combined, with the user base rising to 35 million from an estimated 16-18 million in 2014. In contrast, the growth in the number of courses offered has slowed down from 100% to 75%. Last year, 1 800 new courses appeared on the scene, increasing the total number of MOOCs to 4 200 since the first course was launched by Stanford University in late 2011.  

Courses are now offered by 550 universities in 16 languages, including Basque and Estonian. The dominance of courses taught in English has decreased from 80% in 2014 to 75% in 2015, and the second and third biggest languages are Spanish and French. In terms of trends in course content in 2015, MOOC providers and partner universities responded to the demand for skills in technology and business fields in their effort towards monetisation: the share of computer science and programming courses grew by more than 10%, while there has been a decrease in the humanities and social science courses. 

Class Central 

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