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More than 200,000 participants for the Introduction to Dutch MOOC!

03 April 2020

A welcome message in difficult times: the free Introduction to Dutch MOOC took place for the 17th time, with the total number of participants now surpassing 200,000! Exactly 200,294 people across the entire world have now become acquainted with the Dutch language and with the UG. It is precisely in these times of forced distance learning that the MOOC appears to be under high demand. Since the first edition of the MOOC in 2015, its popularity has quickly risen and it now belongs among the top 100 MOOCs of all time.

How can its popularity be explained? We asked Language Centre coordinator Margriet Hidding a few questions about this.

MOOC - 200,000 participants

What’s the reason for this great success?

‘Through a good combination of all sorts of exercises, participants can learn a lot in a short amount of time. The MOOC was first developed for future staff members and students of the UG, so that they could already become acquainted with Dutch. But the number of participants of the first edition well exceeded our expectations – over 34,000 people took part! It was the first foreign language course on Futurelearn, which explains part of its success. Since then, more language courses have been added, but our MOOC remains popular.’

Who are the participants?

‘Participants come from countries across the globe; most of them come from the Netherlands itself but many also come from the United Kingdom, the United States and various other countries. As well as the original target group, many other people have also followed the course for their own enjoyment or because they have family in the Netherlands, want to come here on holiday or plan to move here. When the MOOC began in 2015, the stream of asylum seekers from Syria had just arrived here. We therefore offered the MOOC even more frequently and we received messages from people in emergency accommodation who had not yet started their Dutch lessons but who could start learning the language already, by following the MOOC on their smartphones. That was quite moving.’

What feedback have the course participants given?

‘The set-up of the course is often praised. These are a few quotes that we received from the last edition:

This is a good course. It is organized very well and in such a way to make the understanding of this beautiful language clear and simple. It gave me the impetus to continue to improve my language skills in this language. I thank all those who have taken to this project.
It has been a great experience thus far, the course is extremely well structured. I found it very easy to follow, the Quizlet part is super helpful.
To be honest, I am quite surprised by the progress I've made in one week... I didn't know a word in Dutch and I am super motivated to keep going now that I started this course.

Aiming for 300,000 then?

‘Most certainly! We are now busy upgrading the MOOC with new videos and more exercises but the structure and the set-up will remain unchanged. It is great to see that people are helping each other in answering their questions, for example those about grammar, via the messages that they are sending to one another. It is precisely in these times, when we are forced to remain at home, that the MOOC is connecting people. Via the MOOC, we are seeing what we would like to see elsewhere in the world: people from various countries and all sorts of backgrounds helping one another. This makes every edition a real celebration.’


Curious about the MOOC and thinking about joining us? You can find all the information about the MOOC on the Language Centre website .

The next MOOC is set to start in August, but we can now happily announce that another MOOC will be organized before that! There is a great need to continue learning online at the moment and we are happy to be able to contribute. Subscribe to our newsletter and you will be the first to know when registration for the MOOC opens!

  • Update: the extra MOOC starts at the 8th of June!
Last modified:09 April 2020 3.07 p.m.
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