Who Wants to Learn English Online for Free?

Keywords: LMOOCs, English Language, Distance Learning, Demographics


This study of demographics is aimed to help LMOOC designers develop courses that are more appealing to prospective learners, and thus fight low completion rate which remains one of the main drawbacks of MOOCs. In addition, as the world battles against the COVID-19 pandemic looking for alternative learning approaches is unavoidable. The data presented in this paper were collected between 2016 and 2020 by means of a questionnaire that over 29,000 participants completed upon registration. The questionnaire, which included three multiple-choice questions aimed at obtaining responses regarding age, level of education and gender, revealed that most learners were middle-aged adults who held a university degree. In addition, our findings seemed to indicate that female learners are more likely to take the courses than their male counterparts. The aforementioned findings, which provide an insight into the demographics of EFL MOOCs in Spanish-speaking contexts, is a good starting point for further research which could ultimately help educational authorities know the impact of EFL MOOCs and enable the latter to reach a wider audience.


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Author Biographies

Rubén Chacón-Beltrán, UNED: Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia

Rubén Chacón-Beltrán is senior lecturer at the UNED (Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia) in Madrid, Spain, where he teaches undergraduate courses in English as a foreign language and sociolinguistics, and graduate seminars in bilingualism and corpus linguistics. Dean of the Faculty of Philology at the UNED since 2019. He holds a PhD in Applied English Linguistics and has taught at various Spanish universities. He is the editor of the Spanish journal, ELIA (Studies in Applied English Linguistics) and head of the research group TISAAL and for 12 years was director of UNED’s MA in English Applied Linguistics. His areas of interest are vocabulary teaching and learning, materials design, bilingual education and learner autonomy in digital contexts. He has been a visiting academic at various universities like The Open University, Swansea University, University of the West of England and Birmingham City University. He has been invited as plenary speaker to give academic talks in Argentina, Ecuador and Brazil. He has presented his research in many international conferences, as a speaker and as a guest speaker and he has published over 40 research papers and book chapters. Management Committee member in COST Action CA19102 ‘Language In The Human-Machine Era' (LITHME) https://www.cost.eu/actions/CA19102/. He has coedited some books such as Age in L2 acquisition and teaching (2006), Peter Lang; Insights into vocabulary teaching and learning (2010), Multilingual Matters; and The impact of affective variables in L2 teaching and learning (2010), University of Seville and Bilingual and Multilingual Education in the 21st Century: Building on Experience (2013), Multilingual Matters, Sociolinguistic (2015) UNED. He is also the coauthor of some teaching materials such as Gramática Inglesa para Hispanohablantes (2010; 2017), Cambridge University Press/UNED and English Skills for Independent Learners B2 (2010) Cambridge University Press/UNED.

Raymond Echitchi, UNED: Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia

Researcher and teaching assistant at Spain's National Distance Education University, based in Madrid (Spain). His duties mainly involve research, teaching (courses related to English as a Second Language and Linguistics), and the supervision of Master's dissertations.

How to Cite
Chacón-Beltrán, R., & Echitchi, R. (2021). Who Wants to Learn English Online for Free?. Journal of Language and Education, 7(4), 53-65. https://doi.org/10.17323/jle.2021.11906