Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) Market - Growth, Trends, and Forecasts (2020 - 2025)
The Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) Market is segmented by Type (cMOOC, xMOOC), Subject Type (Technology, Business, Science), and Geography.
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Scope of the Report
Key Market Trends
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The global massive open online course (MOOC) market was valued at USD 6845.4 million in 2020, and it is expected to reach USD 18925.18 million by 2026, with an estimated CAGR of 18.13%, during the period from 2021 to 2026. Massive open online courses (MOOCs) are the final stage in distance education, as these offer public educational resources to the students all around the world. They are designed to be scalable to large online masses, with free participation, and without formal requirements to provide the opportunity to learn through hundreds of public and private universities or organizations for millions of individuals around the world. However, since MOOCs became mainstream in 2012, their completion rates remain a highly debated subject.
The availability of MOOCs is expanding rapidly. According to the University of Southern California, the institution currently generates around USD 114 million per year from running such courses. The institution also predicts that online courses will serve more learners in the next 5-10 years than the combined provision of physical classes offered by the world's universities. According to Class Central, in its seventh year, the modern MOOC movement crossed 100 million learners in 2018, to reach a total of 101 million. Despite a slowdown in the growth rate of new users, MOOC platforms witnessed an increase in paying customers. More and more degrees are being offered through MOOC platforms, pointing toward what may ultimately be a lasting revenue model.
According to the US News World Report rankings, about 22 of the top 25 US universities are now offering free online courses. Although India is very slow in catching up with the MOOC wave, the reputed Indian institutes have come forward with their offerings on specialties. IIT Bombay has collaborated with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard to launch MOOCs through its websites for all the interested students for free. According to The Economic Times, seven leading IITs, Infosys, TCS, Cognizant, and NASSCOM have planned to join together to launch a bunch of free online courses that could potentially help 100,000-150,000 people a year to get a high-quality education and increase their chances of employment.
In the last two years, focus on healthcare, public health, and public administration and management risen significantly in the market. Moreover, due to the recent COVID-19 outbreak, this trend has further gained momentum across the world. Recently, the University of Cape Town (UCT) witnessed a surge in its MOOC participation, since the start of global lockdowns. More than 10,000 people enrolled in the course Understanding Clinical Research, oriented for medical statistics knowledge, in direct response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As of March 2020, FUN (France Université Numérique) which is a MOOC platform that dominates the French Online Course Ecosystem announced to offer a total of 31 MOOCs, throughout the year 2020, which are categorized into two collections, "ProjetSUP" and "RéussiteSUP". Moreover, the platform re-opened its archived MOOCs in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In countries like India, Australia, and many other Asian Countries, MOOCs are becoming a part of the education system, which is expected to boost the science segment. Therefore, platforms, like SWAYAM, are offering 155 engineering courses and 108 science courses. Moreover, many companies claim that the recent COVID-19 outbreak and lockdown in many countries surged the demand for science MOOCs. In April 2020, EPFL and Mohammed VI Polytechnic University (UM6P) in Morocco launched a new online learning portal featuring 41 MOOCs developed at EPFL. The platform is the first output of a partnership deal struck between the two institutions shortly before the COVID-19 outbreak. Additionally, during the lockdown, the university reported that the program attracts many students from the rest of Morocco's engineering schools.
Scope of the Report
A massive open online course (MOOC) is a web-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. Technology includes computer science, IT, and data analytics and statistics, the business consists of, finance, marketing, entrepreneurship, leadership, and strategy. In contrast, the science segment includes electronics, physics, chemistry, life sciences, and engineering. Apart from the mentioned segments, rest is covered under other subject types.
By Subject Type
Other Subject Types
Rest of Europe
Rest of Asia-Pacific
Rest of Latin America
Middle East & Africa
United Arab Emirates
Rest of Middle East & Africa
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Key Market Trends
Technology Subject is expected to hold Major Share
The technology segment is one of the most evolved segments in the studied 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, like data analytics and AI, across various industries, is further expanding the scope of the studied segment 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, among others. Technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning, are some of the segment's emerging courses.
According to Class Central, among the top 100 online courses until now, technology holds the most significant number. Some of the most enrolled courses in the technology segments in the last few years are Introduction to Interactive Programming in Python (Rice University via Coursera), Getting Started with Python (the University of Michigan via Coursera), Machine Learning (Stanford University via Coursera), Introduction to Programming with MATLAB (Vanderbilt University via Coursera), Elements of AI (the University of Helsinki via Independent) and Divide and Conquer, Sorting and Searching, and Randomized Algorithms (Stanford University via Coursera), among others.
According to the industry experts, the most common subjects for MOOC-based degrees are computer science, IT, data science, and combinations thereof (e.g., IT management, cybersecurity). Georgia Tech’s online master’s degree in computer science (OMSCS), which is offered on Udacity and has over 9,000 students. Georgia Tech also released a second, similar program in 2019 on the edX platform. The Online Masters of Science In Analytics could be completed for less than USD 10,000. Three of Georgia Tech’s OMS Analytics foundational courses form the Analytics: Essential Tools and Methods MicroMasters credential program on edX.
Moreover, in January 2020, Esri, a location intelligence provider, announced a new massive open online course (MOOC) on spatial data science. It is a no-cost course, with a 6-week time-frame on its training website. It would also include full access to ArcGIS Pro, ArcGIS Online, and ArcGIS Notebooks software. Moreover, according to Class Central, as of January 2020, over 10,000 students enrolled in a MOOC-based degree program, with most of the enrolled students arising from two universities and three online degrees: the Online Master’s Degree in Computer Science (Georgia Tech with Udacity), the Online Master of Science in Analytics (Georgia Tech with edX), and the iMBA (University of Illinois Urbana Champaign with Coursera).
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Asia-Pacific is Expected to Witness Highest Growth
Due to a large number of working and studying population, China is using digital learning technology to enhance education equity, quality, and efficiency. MOOCs took off in China in 2013 with the launch of XuetangX, China’s first MOOC platform, which was developed by Tsinghua University. According to the Ministry of Education of China, there are more than 10 MOOC platforms in the country, and over 460 universities and colleges have introduced more than 3,200 online courses through those platforms, with more than 55 million viewers. Also, over 200 Chinese online courses have joined international MOOC platforms.
Furthermore, according to the Class central MOOC report 2019, China currently offers more than 12,500 MOOCs. The most prominent MOOC provider is iCourse, which was run by Chinese University MOOC, which launched about 600 courses in 2018 and presently delivers 2,500 different MOOCs. Moreover, the Chinese government has set the target for 3000 MOOCs by the end of 2020. Also, there is a 22-story tower in Beijing names as MOOC Times Building that houses a government-supported incubator for edtech companies. In August 2019, about 270 million people took massive open online courses (MOOC) in China, according to the Ministry of Education. About 80 million were college students out of total users.
MOOCs gained popularity in India for over half a decade for students and professionals, especially in technology and engineering, who found it difficult to upgrade their skills in the ever-changing and disruptive world of technology. According to the class central MOOC report 2019, India invested more than USD 33 million in SWAYAM. Instead of such higher cost, the platform is open, SWAYAM courses are free to take. Besides, India hopes to raise national enrollments in higher education to 30% by 2021. According to Coursera, out of 35 million users worldwide, India has the most significant number of learners on the Coursera platform after the United States.
According to mezzomedia, in 2019, 44% used Social media (blog, cafe by Naver, Daum), and 43.6 % used portal for online learning education in South Korea. According to a mezzomedia survey conducted in South Korea in 2019, around 36.7% of the respondents reported that they spent two to three hours per day learning online.This shows that owing to more usage of the Korean language at all levels, people are interested in learning different languages through an online platform, which makes them use MOOC as the platform, as it contains a variety of contents that are easily accessible and feasible. Moreover, significant universities in the country, such as Seoul National University, offer MOOC courses SNUx helpful in various fields, ranging from business, politics, natural science, technology, and the arts.
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The 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 growth of the innovative educational platform, new players are increasing their market presence and expanding their business footprint across the emerging economies.
May 2020 - edX announced a global initiative to help universities facing the challenge of implementing effective online teaching and learning. By offering access to expertise and content for free, edX is assisting universities in creating a plan for the upcoming semester when a vast majority of campuses are likely to be closed or partially closed. The initial response to the COVID-19 pandemic from universities was to address the move to remote teaching quickly.
March 2020 - Coursera is making its entire course catalog free to universities worldwide to help counter the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic, forcing campuses to stop in-person teaching. The announcement comes as more institutions across the globe were instructed to suspend classes to halt the spread of COVID-19. In Italy's footsteps, Europe's most affected country, Poland, Ukraine, and Hungary, have now ordered campus closures alongside a slew of US states.