Are MOOCs Promising Learning Environments?



Connectivism, learning theories, elearning, MOOC, cMOOC, xMOOC, SRL, ODL


This article reflect upon MOOCs as technology enhanced learning environments. The increase in numbers of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) has been dramatic in recent years. MOOCs may be considered to be a new form of virtual technology enhanced learning environments. Two types of MOOCs may be distinguished: cMOOCs as proposed by Siemens, based on his ideas of connectivism, and xMOOCs developed in institutions such as Stanford and MIT. Although they have received a great deal of attention, they have also met with criticism. The time has therefore come to critically reflect upon this phenomenon. While there is still relatively little empirical research on the effects of MOOCs on learning, this study tries to shed light on the issue from a theoretical point of view. It will first explore positive and negative expectations regarding MOOCs. MOOCs might constitute a good option if they can be delivered on a large scale, and this will only be possible for a few big institutions. There is no empirical research which would uphold the claims concerning their positive effects. It will then review classical and more recent learning theories with respect to their capability to explain the process of learning in order to compare traditional online courses, xMOOC and cMOOC with respect to their potential to support learning and its self-regulation..



How to Cite

Bartolomé, A. R., & Steffens, K. (2015). Are MOOCs Promising Learning Environments?. Comunicar, 22(44), 91–99. Retrieved from



Dossier (Monographic)