In 2008, a new term emerged in the already crowded e-learning landscape: MOOC, or massive open online course. Lifelong learners can now use various tools to build and manage their own learning networks, and MOOCs may provide opportunities to test such networks. This paper focuses on the technological aspects of one MOOC, the Connectivism and Connective Knowledge (CCK08) course, in order to investigate lifelong learners’ attitudes towards learning network technologies. The research framework is represented by three perspectives: (a) lifelong learning in relation to open education, with a focus on the effective use of learning tools; (b) the more recent personal knowledge management (PKM) skills approach; and (c) the usability of web-based learning tools. Findings from a survey of CCK08 participants show that the course attracted adult, informal learners, who were not concerned about course completion. Time constraints, language barriers, and ICT skills affected the participants’ choice of tools; for example, learners favoured the passive, time-saving mailing list over interactive, time-consuming discussions forums and blogs. Some recommendations for future MOOCs include highlighting the purpose of the tools (e.g., skill-building) and stating clearly that the learners can choose their preferred tools. Further research on sustainability and facilitator workload should be conducted to determine the cost and effectiveness of MOOCs. Investigation is also necessary to understand MOOC participant profiles as they relate to course outcomes and retention and whether terms such as course and attrition are appropriate in this context.
- open learning,
- online learning