Lessons learnt from a professional development MOOC: engaging culturally and linguistically diverse learners from low- and middle-income countries

Pascal Launois, Pascale Allotey, Daniel Reidpath, Dermot Maher, Edith Certain, Bella Ross

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearch


This article reports on the lessons learnt from the pilot of a professional development massive open online course (MOOC) for a culturally and linguistically diverse student cohort located across low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). The focus of the MOOC was implementation research related to infectious diseases in LMICs. It was developed by the Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases hosted by the World Health Organisation, in collaboration with the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne. The pilot took place in late 2017 with a total of 110 participants from 29 countries across 6 continents. Participants were a mix of programme managers, researchers and local health workers. Drawing on online anonymous survey responses gathered on completion of each of the five modules and a focus group conducted with participants from the Americas region, the
authors outline participants’ views of the benefits and challenges of the MOOC. Participants reported positive benefits in terms of increased knowledge and professional performance. Challenges related to time requirements, language of instruction, cultural context and online discussions. These findings will be of interest to those developing and facilitating MOOCs in LMICs for professional development purposes, particularly for learners from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalEuropean Journal of Open, Distance and E-Learning
Issue numberII
Publication statusPublished - 24 Sept 2019


  • MOOCs
  • Massive Open Online Courses
  • Professional development
  • Continuing education
  • CALD
  • Low- and middle-income countries
  • Developing countries
  • Online learning
  • Association for Learning Technology Conference (ALT-C) 2018

    Pascal Launois (Speaker), Pascale Allotey (Speaker), Daniel Reidpath (Speaker), Dermot Maher (Speaker) & Bella Ross (Speaker)

    11 Sept 201813 Sept 2018

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesContribution to conference

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