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5 Reasons why millennials love MOOCs


March 17, 2015 – by Jennis Jongerius &samhoud media

There is a new hype in online education. Worldwide there are millions of young adults who are following online courses on popular platforms such as Coursera, Udacity and EdX. You may think: “Is it only millennials who follow these courses?”

No. Research has shown that the median age of MOOC participants is 24 years old, but this is not at surprise, because there are some visible advantages that makes MOOCs attractive to this target group. Other surveys results showed that 94 percent of the millennials is ‘somewhat to extremely likely’ to register for a MOOC within the next twelve months.

It seems generation Y is swapping the traditional lecture hall for the virtual classroom, and why wouldn’t they? There are plenty of reasons for millennials why they love MOOCs. Here are 5!

1. MOOCs are free
In the past it was really expensive to take a course from, for example, a world-renowned professor of Oxford. Nowadays students can watch the same lecture without spending a dime. That means that there is more money left to spend on student leisure (beer and fast-food).

An interesting business model for organizations that offer MOOCs, is that students sometimes will be able to purchase a degree after finishing the course.

2. Freedom
Millennials want everything on demand. The freedom provided by MOOCs allows participants to test out as many courses as they like. They are able to learn at their own pace, in their own time and at random places. For instance while lying in bed (don’t we all want that).

MOOC number of student by age

(Source: Chronicle)

3. To impress future employers
Employers are starting to take MOOCs very seriously on job interviews. Although you MOOCs do not qualify as degrees, when applying for a job, a MOOC on your CV shows that you are eager to learn. Besides that, you can differentiate yourself with the specific and quirky courses you have followed.

4. Who would not want to follow the footsteps of Bill Gates?
Bill Gates, one of the most famous (and rich) university dropouts in history makes no secret of the fact that he’s participates in online learning. Recently he followed a MOOC in Oceanography.

5. You can study anything
Think of anything you would like learn more about and there is probably a relevant free online course. Some MOOCs are for beginners and others are more complex and you have them in all different disciplines. At IntoConnection we’ve highlighted the quirkiest MOOCs you can follow. My personal favorite: a course on the zombie series The Walking Dead.

Some organizations claim that they offered the first Massive Open Online Course as early as 2006. Others insist that they were pioneers two years later in 2008. However, it is widely agreed on that Stanford University was the first organization that developed a MOOC back in 2011. They taught their artificial intelligence course to 160.000 online registrants. The rumors on who was the first set aside, it is a hard, cold fact that millennials are going MOOC-crazy nowadays.


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