Is there a topic you're interested in, but haven't had the chance to explore? Do you find it difficult to access affordable and flexible education options? A Massive Open Online Course, commonly known as a MOOC, provides a great opportunity to gain knowledge or learn new skills.
The Abbott Nutrition Health Institute recently partnered with the Imperial College London through ImperialX, to create a Nutrition in Ageing MOOC. This course reviews the specific nutritional needs of older people, provides information on how to create a balanced meal plan, and offers advice on locating additional resources and supports for older adults. Professionals, caregivers, and anyone interested in nutrition can benefit from this course. So far, almost 1,800 people from over 110 countries have registered for the course!
So, what exactly is a MOOC?
MOOCs are online courses offered worldwide to anyone. They are often free and include all necessary course materials. Many global platforms-such as EdX and Coursera -make available a large quantity of online courses on a wide range of topics, often in multiple languages.
The courses are typically developed in partnership with academic institutions, and many provide the opportunity to receive a verified certificate or college credit for a fee. A number of MOOCs address health-related issues, such as nutrition, patient care, public health and clinical research, while others cover a wide range of topics that are not related to health.
Who can benefit from MOOCs?
MOOCs are accessible and beneficial to a worldwide audience, and participation and certification have steadily grown over the past several years. HarvardX and MITx studied its MOOC participants and found that a typical "classroom" is heterogenous in background and intention. Almost any learner can find MOOCs that offer subjects and education options to match their interests.
Participating in continued education has many benefits, including personal enrichment and the development of new skills. The ICAA supports lifelong learning as a tool to help older adults age well and maintain a fulfilling life. In short, MOOCs can help you grow and stay active!
Amie N. Heap, MPH, RDN
Director, Abbott Nutrition Health Institute
Director, Health Policy, Education & Alliances