Factors influencing the pursuit of personal learning goals in MOOCs

Maartje Henderikx*, Karel Kreijns, Jonatan Castaño Muñoz, Marco Kalz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


MOOCs are promising opportunities for lifelong learning, but as promising as these learning opportunities seem, many learners do not succeed in pursuing their personal learning goals. Barriers to learning are the main reason for notfinishing the intended (parts of the) MOOCs. This study addressed the ques- tion whether the factors age, gender, educational level, and online learning experience affect barriers faced while learning in MOOCs. The results show that it is challenging to combine work and family life with lifelong (online) learning activities, especially for learners in their early adulthood and mid-life. However, more experience with online learning positively affects individuals’ability to cope with these challenges. Also, learners with a lower educational level may experience a lack of knowledge or difficulties with the course content. Thesefind- ings may serve as input to inform potentially vulnerable learners about these issues and support them in successfully achieving their personal learning goals.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)187-204
Number of pages18
JournalDistance Education
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 28 Apr 2019


  • Online Learning
  • Open education
  • Barriers to learning
  • open education
  • achievement
  • barriers to learning
  • Online learning
  • MOOCs


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