Over the last couple of decades, the education landscape has always been evolving in terms of knowledge and practicality but the one thing that has remained constant was the mode of teaching. It has always been a strong belief that impactful teaching could only be achieved via live lectures. If we talk particularly about India, generations after generations have passed on but the traditional education system sustained no matter what. Eventually, due to the advancements in the fields of science and technology, a different perspective that is mode of online teaching was brought into light.

2011-2012 was the foundation year for these online platforms. 2012 witnessed the birth of some well known platforms like Stanford’s Coursera, it’s outgrowth Udacity and MIT and Harvard’s EdX. With increasing popularity, more such platforms followed. . These online courses were so popular that the New York Times proclaimed 2012 as - ‘the year of MOOC’. This success was short lived as the hype started to die down over the years and most of these platforms even doubted their survival

•Cut to 2020, the decline of these Moocs would have continued but with the onset of the pandemic, increase in economic uncertainties the popularity of Moocs also came to increase resulting in the revival of this prominent trend.The education landscape had an unprecedented crisis as the academic year was disrupted. It became really difficult to keep one self-engaged in the constantly extending lockdown and the daily life became mundane and monotonous. This lead to an increase in the ‘learn-from-home’ mindset and with colleges and school themselves encouraging students to take up these courses , the trend of these courses picked momentum in the blink of an eye. Millions of people flocked to get themselves enrolled in these courses. From young minds to high level professionals, everyone indulged themselves in these which lead to the peak of MOOCs. Enrollment at Coursera skyrocketed , 640% higher from mid-March to mid-April than during the same period last year, growing from 1.6 to 10.3 million!!

The prime benefits of doing these courses are:

• Thorough knowledge and deep understanding of the respective subjects.

• Flexible schedule.

• Cheaper than physical courses.

• An enhanced skillset.

• And of course, the most “important” thing, a certificate.

Although these platforms have left no stone unturned to deliver the best from their end this method still has a lot of loopholes. After a thorough research, studies have shown that only a small percentage of the millions were actually completing the courses. This poses a serious threat to the legitimacy of these platforms because half of the people leave the course midway and the other half do it for the certificates.

• If we are being honest, nowadays, having a certificate of a completed course has more value than learning what the course offers. Even though these certificates can be used to polish your resume, anyone who completes the course can get them, hence diminishing the overall credibility. This worry is largely unfounded, since people benefit even without actually completing the course.

• Instead of doing courses to enhance the skillset, people started competing amongst each other. This behavior in learners is often motivated as they are forced to swim in the vast ocean of these ‘courses’ under the pretext of skill development and better job prospects. This toxic environment leads to an inane rat race which disregards the actual educational merits and contradicts the real purpose of these courses. Hence, the whole essence behind this program is lost. People need to get rid of the thought process where they think that a learner’s proficiency is proportional to the amount of courses they completed. What we need to keep in mind is that the quality of education will always surpass the quantity of certificates obtained.

• The above pros and cons draw the conclusion that if the learners are doing these courses just to compete among their peers and not out of their own interest and will to learn, they will get nothing good out of it. The end goal shouldn’t be hoarding certificates but rather to take in the knowledge that they offer. Whether it be coding, marketing, language or dinner etiquettes, (yes, there are courses on dinner etiquettes) there is a plethora of knowledge on these online platforms and they help learners widen their reach at the same time hone as well as test their skills.

• We live in 2020, that’s the modern age, where there are infinite opportunities waiting for us out there. There are so many things yet to explore, so many things yet to discover and if you are determined enough, you can do wonders even in these times of adversity. As they say “What we know is a drop, what we don’t know is an ocean”, so dive into this ocean of possibilities and discover your calling. If not now, then when?

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