Building capabilities: Using MOOCs to make transitions in work

Janet Small, Andrew Deacon, Sukaina Walji, Tasneem Jaffer, Jeff Jawitz


Our research explores the experience of adults looking for flexible online learning opportunities that intersect with university study. We interviewed 58 people living in 14 African countries who have taken a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) developed by the University of Cape Town. The interview data reveals diverse uses of MOOCs in workplace contexts. While only two of those we interviewed articulated a goal of making a career change, there were many more taking a MOOC for some form of self-development within their current profession. There were also cases where people had not yet identified a new career, but believed the knowledge and skills would support future transitions. Our intentions for exploring the expectations of MOOC takers regionally is to improve our understanding of how universities, following open practices, could support the educational aspirations of this audience through the provision of flexible online learning opportunities.


MOOCs; Africa; transitions in work; pathways; open online learning; capability theory

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