Massive Open Online Course methodologies in European youth work

Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) have been receiving a lot of attention of educators from different countries and fields, representing a new way of approaching training that is attracting millions of students all over the world.

MOOCs emerged first in the system of higher education, then in corporate word and NGOs field. The number of MOOCs has risen especially sharply since 2012, which was back then called “the Year of MOOCs”. Currently, there are thousands of MOOCs on different subjects available online. According the statistics of Class Central, one of the first search engine and reviews site for MOOCs, the total number of MOOCs in 2018 available to register is larger than ever

Applying e-learning methodologies in general and MOOCs methodologies in particular to the non-formal education activities for young people is becoming crucial. MOOC was mentioned as one of the ways of innovation for youth work within the Consultative meeting on a Council of Europe youth Sector Strategy from 2020 to 2030. We live in the knowledge society where e-learning becomes more popular way to transfer knowledge especially for young people who are “digital natives”.

UNESCO in the document 'Education in and for the Information Society (2013)' underlines the importance of the e-learning approach for education within the phrase “there is no information for all in our information society without education for all”.

Education for all could be reached by applying technology that helps to make it accessible and inclusive. Without any doubts, youth NGOs need to apply to their educational work e-learning and MOOC approach in order to reach their goals and public as well as to make their work more inclusive. 

But the question is if youth workers and trainers have enough knowledge how to do it efficiently and develop high-quality MOOC programmes. European Commission within Digital Competence Framework for educators (DigCompEdu)  develops theoretical inputs and practical tools on e-learning for the educators from different areas. But, unfortunately, there is no any document that adopts these valuable ideas for the youth field.

There are only two official documents in the field of European youth work, that can serve for youth trainers as standards for developing high-quality  educational programmes:

  • Quality standards in education and training activities of the Youth Department of the Council of Europe (2016),
  • European Training Strategy, developed by European Commission (2013).

Both documents do not contain any information about e-learning approach towards education and training in the youth field.  Unfortunately, there is no any official statistics about e-learning activities and MOOCs that were developed by youth organizations under Erasmus Plus Programme.

In the European training calendar, provided by SALTO, there is just one MOOC, opened for everyone, that can be found in actual moment. Taking into account all this facts, it is evident, that in the field of European Youth Work educational potential of MOOC is not used enough and there is no any methodological support for youth workers that can be used for development of high-quality MOOC programmes for young people.

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