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De l'égalité formelle aux usages réels : déterminants et effets du suivi des MOOC dans les trajectoires socio-professionnelles

Abstract : Education and vocational training are central institutions in today’s society. They play an important role in guaranteeing people’s social and professional integration. They are also considered strategic pillars of economic growth in “the knowledge society” (CE, 2000). However, despite their basis in democratic values and principles, there are still many inequalities in access and outcomes in both compulsory academic and vocational education. Moreover, because of the increasing flexibility and insecurity of work in the current labor market, a diploma is a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for stable employment. In this context, the rise of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) raises questions about their contribution to the educational aims of equality and efficacy. Based on a mixed-methods approach, this thesis addresses the following research problem: To what extent does the formal equality of MOOC give people equal opportunities to use them, succeed in them, and earn tangible and subjective benefits? The analyses are carried out on data collected from 5709 people enrolled in 12 MOOC on the FUN platform, interviewed again one year later (n=1778), and on 32 interviews. Results show that the use of MOOC seems to reproduce social inequalities in educational access. Indeed, the people who enroll already have high levels of human capital and highly stable and qualified employment; furthermore, they are accustomed to professional training and have intense cultural practices. Rather than acting as a new way to access education and training for underserved people, MOOC seem to be a new resource for privileged individuals, and access to them appears to require implicit prerequisites. However, the typology of MOOC uses shows that even for these people, MOOC can be an additional training opportunity. Mainly used for disinterested purposes, such as “edutainment” or cultural interest, they are also real training and educational supports. Nevertheless, these types of uses are not strongly determined. When achievement and certification are used as indicators to assess the success of these social uses, results show no social inequalities in outcomes. However, at least in the short term, participating in a MOOC does not have any tangible impact on professional careers: Rather, their effects are subjective. Considering the “biographical path” of these people (Bourdon, 2010), I find that they use MOOC both to sustain individual and professional identities and to facilitate social transitions. Instead of competing with the role played by diplomas in France, MOOC seem to be a new “halo” of these educational credentials, participating in the development of the need to acquire skills throughout one’s career and reinforcing the trend towards life-long learning.
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Eléonore Vrillon. De l'égalité formelle aux usages réels : déterminants et effets du suivi des MOOC dans les trajectoires socio-professionnelles. Education. Université Bourgogne Franche-Comté, 2018. Français. ⟨NNT : 2018UBFCH014⟩. ⟨tel-01916747v2⟩

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