A Graphical View of Student Patterns in MOOCs

Last week Phil Hill wrote a blog post about four types of students in MOOCs. He identified four types:

  • Lurkers – This is the majority of students within xMOOCs, where people enroll but just observe or sample a few items at the most. Many of these students do not even get beyond registering for the MOOC or maybe watching part of a video.
  • Passive Participants – These are students who most closely align with traditional education students, viewing a course as content to consume. These students typically watch videos, perhaps take quizzes, but tend to not participate in activities or class discussions.
  • Active Participants – These are the students who fully intend to participate in the MOOC, including consuming content, taking quizzes and exams, taking part in activities such as writing assignments and peer grading, and actively participate in discussions via discussion forums, blogs, twitter, Google+, or other forms of social media.
  • Drop-Ins – These are students who become partially or fully active participants for a select topic within the course, but do not attempt to complete the entire course.

Personnally I recognise these types and I think it is useful to keep these types in mind when you are developing a MOOC. I also see that people can be one type in a certain MOOC and another type in another. I also recognise that even within a course someone can change of type. Phil writes about this:

An important point is that some students change between patterns – such as a passive participant deciding to fully jump in and become an active participant, or even an active participant becoming frustrated and becoming a lurker. From what I’ve seen, this type of change occurs once per course at the most for any individual student.

This week Phil also created a nice graphical view of the pattern of these types:

Graphical view of student patterns in MOOCs

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