GCC Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) Market - Growth, Trends, COVID-19 Impact, and Forecasts (2021 - 2026)

The GCC Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) Market is segmented by Subject Type (Technology, Business, Science) and Country.

Market Snapshot

Study Period: 2018 - 2026
Base Year: 2020
CAGR: 17.23 %

Need a report that reflects how COVID-19 has impacted this market and its growth?

Market Overview

The GCC Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) Market is expected to register a CAGR of 17.23% over the forecast period from 2021 - 2026. The advancements in information and communication technologies force educators and learners to move past the constraints of time, space, and environment. While a typical classroom education is well-known, learning systems outside the classroom, primarily those enhanced through technology, are still being discussed. Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) is the final stage in distance education, as these offer open educational resources to the students all around the world. MOOCs are made to be scalable to large online masses, free participation, and without formal requirements to provide individuals around the region the opportunity to learn through hundreds of public and private universities or organizations in the region.

  • The major driving force for the increasing popularity of MOOCs in the region is government initiatives and support regarding online learning programs. For instance, UAE Centennial Plan 2071 is a long-term, full-vision plan that extends for five decades, after 2021 and the plan prioritizes high-quality education for all its citizens. This provides opportunities for MOOC vendors related to advanced science and technology, space science, engineering, innovation, and health sciences to invest in the region. To meet UAE Vision 2021, which calls for "a shift to a diversified and knowledge-based economy," the country is reinforcing education primarily based on technology, and hence, strengthening MOOCs across the region.
  • The Saudi Arabian government launched various initiatives in the education sector to improve the quality of education. One of the main areas of Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030 is the educational sector. To attain this, King Abdullah's Education Development Project (valued at USD 2.4 billion) has mandated an educational reform package that focuses on attracting and retaining the finest Saudi minds by increasing the private sector participation in the education sector. This provides an opportunity for MOOC vendors to invest in this region. For instance, Classera, a prominent e-learning platform in the Middle East with an extensive presence in Saudi Arabia, held Riyadh's first Innoxera Summit, in April 2019, attracting several smart learning and e-learning vendors to Saudi Arabia.
  • In April 2020, Qatar University's Center of Community Service and Continuing Education (CCE) made an announcement on its webpage that The Center is offering several courses to the public free of charge, in line with the precautionary efforts made by the university and the state to limit the spread of the COVID-19 and to provide protection to everyone. These courses are a continuation of the university's approach to meet the actual needs of society, individuals, and institutions. The Center strives to develop their knowledge and skills, both personally and professionally, without leaving their homes during this period. The seven courses offered will cover several topics in finance, nutrition, disaster management, crisis management, emotional intelligence, and family budget.
  • With the continuing global spread of COVID-19 and some Arab countries responding by closing schools and universities, online education, though long disfavored, is now being seen as an essential means of continuing the educational process and avoiding students' losing an academic year. Countries like the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait have announced the start of online-learning projects to provide alternative educational resources for students while regular classes are suspended. This new embrace of online education is expected to significantly boost the MOOC market in the region, as digital learning has generally been marginalized, unrecognized, and suspended in many Arab countries, whose educational systems still prefer traditional face-to-face teaching methods.

Scope of the Report

A massive open online course (MOOC) is a free internet-based distance learning program designed for the participation of large numbers of geographically dispersed students. Courses related subjects such as technology, business, and science are considered under the scope of the report. Other courses, such as personality development, non-technical skills development, etc. are considered under other types of subjects.

By Subject
Other Subjects
By Country
United Arab Emirates
Saudi Arabia
Rest of GCC (Bahrain, Oman)

Report scope can be customized per your requirements. Click here.

Key Market Trends

Technology is Expected to Hold Significant Share

  • The technology segment is one of the most evolved segments in the market. Most of the people are enrolling in these categories, as these are the easiest to monetize. Additionally, the growing adoption of the latest technologies across various industries further expands the segment's scope over the forecast period. The technology segment mainly consists of courses related to computer science, IT and data analytics and statistics, machine learning, and cybersecurity. Technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence and machine learning, are some of the segment's emerging courses. The recent shift and adoption of these technologies across many industries, ranging from oil and gas to BFSI, are key influencers for the approval of the technology-related courses.
  • Within the last few years, the technology market in the GCC, and significantly in UAE, has grown and evolved from a highly fragmented market of consulting and systems integration service firms to an ecosystem of product, solution service providers offering artificial intelligence, data analytics, and smart solutions. In a fiercely competitive sector, companies tend to hire people with a robust skillset in certain technologies in which the companies specialize to stay ahead of the competition. Employers and employees alike understand the vital role technical skills will have, and already have, in their workplace. Moreover, the shortage of skilled workforces in these technologies motivates the MOOC platform providers to launch more technology-related subjects.
  • Edraak is a massive open online course (MOOC) platform, an initiative of the Queen Rania Foundation (QRF). As such, QRF has utilized regional Arab talent to use the technology developed by edX, the Harvard-MIT consortium in the creation of the first non-profit Arabic MOOC platform. The latest MOOC platform will present the Arab world with unique and vital opportunities to be part of an essential revolution in education and learning. First, the platform will broadcast one of the best Arab professors to the region, offering original Arabic courses to enrich Arab knowledge further. With the partnership with edX, the platform will also give access to various learners in Arabic to technological courses taught and developed at top tier institutions like HarvardX, MITX, and UC BerkelyX.
  • In October 2019, Nardus, an Arabic courses marketplace, was acquired by Omani Society for Education Technology (OSET), an Omani non-profit organization that focuses on educational technology and content creation. Nadrus engages in serving 200,000 Arabic speaking learners with over 100 paid and free online courses on several topics, including Microsoft Excel, Adobe Photoshop, e-commerce, and Android Development. The classes, like other similar platforms, are delivered through video lessons. The Omani Society for Education Technology provides its services to over 10,000 OSET members and the educational communities in the Sultanate through various activities such as seminars, workshops, certified training, symposiums, and conferences.

United Arab Emirates is Expected to Hold Major Share

  • UAE is known for one of its fastest mobile internet speeds in the world. UAE-based Etisalat was named the fastest mobile network in MENA and broadband networks in GCC, Africa, and the Arabian region in 2019, due to its continuous efforts to invest and build one of the world’s most advanced systems. The introduction of 5G is also acting as a significant factor for MOOCs' proliferation and high internet speed. The country was the first in the Arabian region to launch 5G, with the help of Etisalat. The country is also expected to witness the introduction of 5G-enabled devices, which may help users access the courses without any network latency.
  • Since the past few years, universities in the United Arab Emirates are gradually utilizing web-based learning or e-learning as a significant aspect of the educational programs, since the country is trying to establish a technology-driven economy. In September 2019, the United Arab Emirates University announced two English MOOCs, to prepare students to achieve EmSAT score of 1,250. The university states that it is the first step in providing MOOCs, globally, and inspiring the next generation of students. Just after a month, the Ministry of Education in the United Arab Emirates collaborated with Etisalat and Google to launch online education services, which may consist of several tutorials on YouTube aimed for Grade 11 and 12 students.
  • In October 2019, Crescent Petroleum, headquartered in the United Arab Emirates, partnered with Edraak (a pioneer of MOOCs in the Arabian countries) to develop a series of online courses. This is expected to bridge the gap between the skills acquired during university and those required by the labor market. In February 2019, Abu Dhabi School of Government partnered with Coursera to provide training in data science, AI, leadership, and digital transformation. Thirty courses will be fully in Arabic, while seventy will have Arabic subtitles. Moreover, Coursera’s most significant partnership, worldwide, is with the Abu Dhabi School of Government, in the United Arab Emirates, to provide skills training for 60,000 government employees.
  • The Ministry of Education in the UAE launched the Advanced Skills Strategy, which targets three categories of audience, including students in schools and universities, the new higher education graduates, and the experienced employees. This is causing MOOCs to gain market share with every age group and all subjects in the country. Mohammed bin Rashid Smart Learning project, a smart learning initiative by the UAE government and a part of Vision 2021, has been planned to be introduced in four stages over five years, from 2019–2024. The project is currently offering MOOCs through madrasa.org., due to the closing of schools after the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Competitive Landscape

The GCC Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) Market is moderately competitive and consists of a few significant players. In terms of market share, some of the major players currently dominate the market. However, with the considerable growth of the innovative educational platform, new players are increasing their market presence and expanding their business footprint across the region.

  • April 2020 - Blackboard has announced the launch of the Blackboard Collaborate Self-Service Portal in UAE that allows for higher education institutions to quickly and easily purchase and implement its virtual classroom solution. The self-service portal reduces the time from purchase to getting started to just a few hours in direct response to the need for institutions across the globe to quickly transition to digital teaching and learning modalities as a part of their COVID-19 contingency planning.
  • March 2020 - Coursera has announced that it will provide every impacted university in the GCC region with free access to the course catalog through Coursera for Campus. Universities could sign up to present their enrolled students with access to more than 400 Specializations and 3,800 courses Coursera’s several university and industry partners. These institutions will have access until July 31, 2020, after which the company plans to provide extensions based on comprehensive risk assessments.

Table of Contents


    1. 1.1 Study Assumptions and Market Definition

    2. 1.2 Scope of the Study




    1. 4.1 Market Overview

    2. 4.2 Market Drivers

      1. 4.2.1 Growing awareness on MOOC and recent governmental initiatives promoting the use of MOOC platforms for upskilling initiatives in the GCC region

      2. 4.2.2 In the current competitive scenario, students and corporate employees are constantly looking for opportunities to gain global exposure in KSA & UAE

    3. 4.3 Market Challenges

      1. 4.3.1 Relative lack of personalized guidance and support

      2. 4.3.2 Low completion rate in self-paced programs

    4. 4.4 Market Opportunities

      1. 4.4.1 Anticipated growth in adoption due to the current global scenario and growing catalog of courses

    5. 4.5 Industry Attractiveness - Porter's Five Forces Analysis

      1. 4.5.1 Bargaining Power of Suppliers

      2. 4.5.2 Bargaining Power of Consumers

      3. 4.5.3 Threat of New Entrants

      4. 4.5.4 Threat of Substitute Products

      5. 4.5.5 Intensity of Competitive Rivalry

    6. 4.6 Impact of COVID-19 on the MOOC Industry


    1. 5.1 Current MOOC Enrolment rate and projected growth

    2. 5.2 Curent user base of the major MOOC vendors – Coursera, edX, Udacity, FutureLearn, etc.

    3. 5.3 Coverage on the growing trend of localization and the current share of GCC region

    4. 5.4 Current Monetization strategies in MOOC industry


    1. 6.1 By Subject

      1. 6.1.1 Technology

      2. 6.1.2 Business

      3. 6.1.3 Science

      4. 6.1.4 Other Subjects

    2. 6.2 By Country

      1. 6.2.1 United Arab Emirates

      2. 6.2.2 Saudi Arabia

      3. 6.2.3 Qatar

      4. 6.2.4 Kuwait

      5. 6.2.5 Rest of GCC (Bahrain, Oman)


    1. 7.1 Company Profiles

      1. 7.1.1 Coursera Inc.

      2. 7.1.2 edX Inc.

      3. 7.1.3 Udacity Inc.

      4. 7.1.4 Udemy Inc.

      5. 7.1.5 Canvas Networks Inc.

      6. 7.1.6 Blackboard Inc.

      7. 7.1.7 FutureLearn Ltd

      8. 7.1.8 openSAP (SAP SE)

      9. 7.1.9 Iversity Inc. (Springer Nature)

      10. 7.1.10 Miríadax (Telefónica Learning Services S.L.U.)

    2. *List Not Exhaustive

**Subject to Availability

You can also purchase parts of this report. Do you want to check out a section wise price list?

Frequently Asked Questions

The GCC Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) Market market is studied from 2018 - 2026.

The GCC Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) Market is growing at a CAGR of 17.23% over the next 5 years.

Coursera Inc., edX Inc., Udacity Inc., Canvas Networks Inc., Udemy Inc. are the major companies operating in GCC Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) Market.

80% of our clients seek made-to-order reports. How do you want us to tailor yours?

Please enter a valid email id!

Please enter a valid message!