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Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have recently become widespread in medical education, providing access to learning material to thousands of students and health professionals. While their use in higher education is still being debated, many think that MOOCs have nonetheless changed medical education and are here to stay. In just a few years, the range and scope of available MOOCs has evolved rapidly.
Our study aims to review health and medical MOOCs offered on major platforms since their introduction into higher education.
Out of 259 courses identified in Coursera, EdX, FUN and FutureLearn, 245 were deemed eligible for our review. MOOCs were analyzed according to platform used, institution of origin, content, language, target audience, duration, effort commitment and learning approach.
Coursera offers the most health and medical MOOCs, followed by FutureLearn, EdX and FUN. MOOCs are predominantly taught in English given that they are hosted mostly by American universities. Public health, specialised care, basic and clinical sciences are the major areas covered by MOOCs while only a few offers teaching skills content. Most MOOCs last 6 weeks but British institutions are now creating shorter courses. A majority of MOOCs target the general public and require a weekly commitment by students of 1 to 3 hours. Very few MOOCs make use of an active learning approach. Even though MOOCs are still free, participants are increasingly asked to pay a fee to get a certificate.
Our review identify major topics and trends in health and medical MOOCs.