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Data from 13 massive open online courses offered by Duke University in fall 2014 shows the MOOCs primarily played a supplementary role, a new report shows. Researchers at Duke surveyed three groups of "underserved" learners: those below the age of 18 and above the age of 65, as well as those with limited access to higher education.

For younger learners, the opportunity to take a MOOC alongside a course on the same topic proved a popular strategy; 30 percent of respondents picked that answer when surveyed about their motivations for enrolling in the MOOC. Meanwhile, 45 percent of learners over the age of 65 said they signed up for a MOOC for fun and enjoyment. Finally, learners with limited access to higher education gave more scattered responses, many of which boiled down to the learners feeling inadequately trained and using MOOCs to "fill gaps" in their knowledge. The report appeared in the most recent issue of Educational Media International.