MOOCs for Teacher Professional Development: Reflections and Suggested Actions

Pradeep Kumar Misra


Teacher Professional Development (TPD) has become a major policy priority within education systems worldwide. But keeping teachers professionally up-to-date and providing them professional development opportunities on continuing basis is a big challenge. Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) can be a cost and resource effective means to complement the traditional methods of professional development of teachers. This optimism is based on the assumption that use of MOOCs will facilitate mass training of teachers as per their convenience and ease. The other assumption is that being MOOCs-based training, it will be easy to adapt it to different cultures and languages. Considering these assumptions, this concept paper which is based on reviews of different reports, documents and research papers - discusses the challenges of TPD, reflects upon promises of using MOOCs for TPD; details initiatives and experiences of using MOOCs for TPD; and suggests actions for promoting the use of MOOCs for TPD.


MOOCs; Teacher Professional Development; TPD; Teachers; Teacher Training; Professional Development of Teachers

Full Text:



Allen, M. (2009). What is continuing professional development (CPD)? Retrieved from

Amigot, M. (2017). MOOCs evolve into professional development courses with alternative credentials. IBL studios. Retrieved from

Bali, M. (2013, July 12). 5 reasons teachers should dip into MOOCs for professional development. MOOC news & reviews. Retrieved from

Bonk, C.J., Lee, M.M., Kou, X., Xu, S., & Sheu, F.R. (2015). Understanding the self-directed online learning preferences, goals, achievements, and challenges of MIT OpenCourseWare subscribers. Journal of Educational Technology & Society, 18(2), 349–368. Retrieved from

Carapezza, K. (2015, April 2). Who is taking MOOCs? Teachers, says MIT-Harvard study. PBSO News Hour. Retrieved from

CARLA (2014). What is Culture? University of Minnesota. Retrieved from

Coffman, K. (2015, November 18). The professional development advantages of MOOCs. Delcor. Retrieved from

Cole, A. W., & Timmerman, C. E. (2015). What do current college students think about MOOCs? MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 11(2), 188–201. Retrieved from

Dikke, D., & Faltin, N. (2015). Go-Lab MOOC – An online course for teacher professional development in the field of Inquiry-based science education. 7th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies, Jul 2015, Barcelona, Spain. Retrieved from

Donaldson, G. (2011). Teaching Scotland’s future: report of a review of teacher education in Scotland. Edinburgh: Scottish Government.

Duke University (2014). DOE endorses Duke MOOCs for teacher professional development. Retrieved from

Earley, P. & Bubb, S. (2004). Leading and managing continuing professional development: Developing people, developing schools. London: SAGE Publications.

Eriksson, T., Adawi, T., & Stohr, C. (2017). Time is the bottleneck: A qualitative study exploring why learners drop out of MOOCs. Journal of Computing in Higher Education, 29(1), 133–146.

Florentine, S. (2015, September 28). 4 ways MOOCs are changing professional development. CIO. Retrieved from

Fyle, C.O. (2013). Teacher education MOOCs for developing world contexts: Issues and design considerations. Retrieved from

Gaible, E., & Burns, M. (2005). Using technology to train teachers: Appropriate uses of ICT for teacher professional development in developing countries. Washington, DC: InfoDev/ World Bank.

Garrido, M., Koepke, L., Andersen, S., Mena, A., Macapagal, M., & Dalvit, L. (2016). An examination of MOOC usage for professional workforce development outcomes in Colombia, the Philippines, & South Africa. Seattle: Technology & Social Change Group, University of Washington Information School.

Gulamhussein, A. (2013). Teaching the teachers: at a glance. Center for Public Education. Retrieved from

Jobe, W., Östlund, C., & Svensson, L. (2014). In M. Searson & M. Ochoa (Eds.), Proceedings of SITE 2014--Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference (pp. 1580–1586). Jacksonville, Florida, United States: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE). Retrieved from

Kanjilal, U., & Kaul, P. (2016). The journey of SWAYAM: India MOOCs initiative. Retrieved from

Kim, B. (Ed.). (2015). MOOCs and educational challenges around Asia and Europe. Seoul: KNOU Press. Retrieved from

Koukis, N., & Jimoyiannis, A. (2017). Designing MOOCs for teacher professional development: Analysis of participants’ engagement. In A. Mesquita and P. Peres (Eds.), Proceedings of the 16th European Conference on e-Learning, ECEL 2017 (pp. 271–280). Porto: Academic Conferences and Publishing International.

Koutsodimou, K., & Jimoyiannis, A. (2015). MOOCS for teacher professional development: Investigating views and perceptions of the participants. Proceedings of the 8th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation, 18–20 November. Seville, Spain: ICERI. Retrieved from

Kumari, A. (2016). MOOCs – An online platform for teacher professional development. Asian Journal of Multidisciplinary Studies, 4(5), 102–107. Retrieved from

Laurillard, D. (2016).The educational problem that MOOCs could solve: Professional development for teachers of disadvantaged students. Research in Learning Technology, 24.

Laurillard, D., & Kennedy, E. (2017, December 16). Moocs can still bring higher education to those who really need it. Times Higher Education. Retrieved from

Lawrie, J., & Burns, M. (2013, March 14). Teacher development in crisis. Global Partnership for Education. Retrieved from

Littlejohn, A., Hood, N., Milligan, C., & Mustain, P. (2016). Learning in MOOCs: Motivations and self-regulated learning in MOOCs. The Internet and Higher Education, 29, 40–48.

Marquis, J. (2013, May 21). Why MOOCs are good for teacher professional development! Retrieved from

NKC (2007). National Knowledge Commission - report to the nation 2006. New Delhi: Government of India. Retrieved from

Norwegian Government. (2013). Time for MOOCs- MOOC commission sub-report. Retrieved from

Odden, A., Archibald ,S., Fermanich, M.,& Gallagher, H. A. (2002). A cost framework for professional development. Journal of Education Finance, 28(1), 51–74.

OECD (2009). Creating effective teaching and learning environments first results from TALIS. OECD Publishing. Retrieved from

OECD (2010). PISA 2009 results: What makes a school successful? OECD Publishing. Retrieved from

Palmer, M. (2015, March 16). Are we missing opportunities to engage teachers with MOOCs? edX Blog. Retrieved from

Patru, M.,& Balaji, V. (2016). Making Sense of MOOCs: A guide for policy-makers in developing countries. France: UNESCO and Commonwealth of Learning. Retrieved from

Quattlebaum, S. (2012, July 26). Why professional development for teachers is critical. The Evolllution. Retrieved from

Richard, A. (2014). How do MOOCs fit into professional training? Retrieved from

Richardson, V. (2003). The dilemmas of professional development. Phi Delta Kappan, 84(5), 401–406.

Sanchez-Gordon, S., & Luján-Mora, S. (2014). MOOCs gone wild. In Proceedings of the 8th International Technology, Education and Development Conference (INTED 2014), Valencia (Spain), March 10–12, 2014 (p. 1449-1458). Retrieved from

Schlager, M., Fusco, J., Barab, S. A., Kling, R., & Gray, J. (2004). Teacher professional development, technology, and communities of practice: are we putting the cart before the horse? In S. Barab, R. Kling, and J. Gray (Eds.), Designing virtual communities in the service of learning (pp. 120–153).UK: Cambridge University Press.

Schultz, E. (Ed.) (2014). The potential and problems of MOOCs-MOOCs in the context of digital teaching. Bonn: German Rectors’ Conference. Retrieved from

Urrutia, M. L., Fielding S., & White S. (2016). Professional development through MOOCs in higher education institutions: Challenges and opportunities for PhD students working as mentors. Journal of Interactive Media in Education, 1, 1–10. Retrieved from

Yousef, A.M. F., Chatti, M.A., Schroeder, U., Wosnitza, M, & Jakobs, H. (2014). MOOCs a review of the state-of-the-art. Paper presented in CSEDU 2014 - 6th International Conference on Computer Supported Education. Retrieved from



  • There are currently no refbacks.