Exploring the Factors Associated with MOOC Engagement, Retention and the Wider Benefits for Learners

Dominic Petronzi [d.petronzi@derby.ac.uk], Munib Hadi [s.hadi@derby.ac.uk], University of Derby, Kedleston Road, Derby, DE22 1GB, United Kingdom

Abstract

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have and continue to change the way in which non-traditional learners’ access education. Although the free element of these has been linked to low completion rates due to no invested interest, the MOOC platform enables innovative technologies and practices to be trialled. Therefore, rather than attributing varied intentions of learners for high drop-out rates, it is suggested that an increase in completion can be achieved through more focussed pedagogical practices. In this way, it is necessary to understand the wider benefits of MOOC engagement for learners and what factors are key to their engagement and retention. The current research qualitatively analysed open feedback obtained from learners that corresponded to their goals of course participation. The feedback was also matched to categorical data that related to initial course intentions, the value of course materials and activities, the preferred extent of instructor interaction, unit completion and their overall rating of the MOOC. Thematic analysis revealed eight key themes that can be linked to engagement and wider benefits of course participation and widely related to professional and educational development, for example, supplementary learning for undergraduate students. Moreover, the MOOC appeared to have encouraged learners to revaluate their perspectives of and attitudes towards Dementia and those diagnosed with it, demonstrating another key element of this course. The open feedback revealed that quality assured MOOCs have significant impact on the lives of enrolled learners and pedagogical design and advances in these courses are considered, particularly in relation to collaborative learning. Finally, the application of MOOCs to wider learning and teaching at Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) is discussed, with emphasis placed on the advantages of readily available resources and scope for scholarly activity.

If you would like to read the entire contribution, please click here.

 

Tags

e-learning, distance learning, distance education, online learning, higher education, DE, blended learning, ICT, information and communication technology, internet, collaborative learning, learning management system, MOOC, interaction, LMS,

Current issue on De Gruyter Online

– electronic content hosting and distribution platform

EURODL is indexed by ERIC

– the Education Resources Information Center, the world's largest digital library of education literature

EURODL is indexed by DOAJ

– the Directory of Open Access Journals

EURODL is indexed by Cabells

– the Cabell's Directories

EURODL is indexed by EBSCO

– the EBSCO Publishing – EBSCOhost Online Research Databases

For new referees

If you would like to referee articles for EURODL, please write to the Chief Editor Ulrich Bernath, including a brief CV and your area of interest.