Miguel Guhlin (citing Lisa M. Lane) divides MOOCs into three categories:
- Network-based MOOCs - "the goal is not so much content and skills acquisition, but conversation, socially constructed knowledge, and exposure to the milieu of learning on the open web using distributed means."
- Task-based MOOCs - "emphasize skills in the sense that they ask the learner to complete certain types of work."
- Content-based MOOCs - "the ones with huge enrollments, commercial prospects, big university professors, automated testing, and exposure in the popular press..."
People haven't really been talking about the task-based courses, but these are probably the most interesting of the bunch, as the tasks can be automated, and the system can step you through a series of actvities. Here I'm thinking of sites like Duolingo, which steps you through language instruction, or Codecademy, which teaches you Python (among other things).