Conference paper Open Access

Understanding ESL Students' Motivations to Increase MOOC Accessibility

Uchidiuno, Judith; Ogan, Amy; Yarzebinski, Evelyn; Hammer, Jessica

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have the potential to bridge education and literacy gaps by offering high quality, free courses to anyone with an Internet connection. MOOCs in their present state, however, may be relatively inaccessible to non-native English speakers, as a majority of MOOC content is in the English language. While a potential solution is to translate all MOOC content into all languages, it is not known whether this solution will satisfy the learning goals of all English as a Second Language (ESL) speakers. Through a series of interviews, we investigate ESL speakers' motivations for taking MOOCs and other online courses. Our findings show that ESL speakers have a variety of motivations for taking online courses that are not captured in current surveys, which implies that current one-size-fits-all approaches to increasing MOOC accessibility for learners with a first language other than English may not be effective. Rather, offering learners individualized tools based on their motivation and needs may be more effective.

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