Democratization of Education through Massive Open Online Courses in Asia

Author: Runchana Pam Barger, Chiang Mai University, Thailand, and Wheaton College, USA
Published: July 17, 2020

Citation: Barger, R. P. (2020). Democratization of Education through Massive Open Online Courses in Asia. IAFOR Journal of Education: Technology in Education, 8(2).


Massive Open Online Courses have been a recent phenomenon in providing large-scale interactive participation and open access to courses online. Depending upon internet availability and familiarity with digital learning practices, this alternative could provide education for many people. This paper explores whether technology such as massive online open courses can democratize education by providing opportunities and access for those who desire formal learning. This paper reviews literature on massive online open courses as well as the benefits and challenges of these courses in adult education. Using computer-based content analysis, this paper also examines recent research (2010-2019) on massive online open courses and the implications of using them to provide widespread access to higher education in Asia. The findings show that offerings in many Asian countries help promote social and economic mobility for their people by providing continuing educational, professional, and personal development through courses online. Yet barriers involving digital literacy, technical capabilities, and language as well as culture, prevent the underserved from pursuing this digital education. This paper provides future research suggestions for collaboration of educational organizations to use massive online open courses in engaging life-long skills for people in Asia.


MOOC, democratization, education access, technology, Asia