An interesting paper of George Veletsianos (Royal Roads University), Justin Reich (MIT), and Laura Pasquini (University of North Texas and Royal Roads University) was just published in the journal AERA Open (American Educational Research Association). The paper focuses on the activities of the learners in MOOC that can't be tracked in the tracking logs.
The authors interviewed 92 learners from around the world in different ages and gender. The learners participated in 4 MOOCs of HarvardX (they are aware that these learner might not be very representative).
Their research findings reveiled three domains of the experience of the MOOC learners that you can't see in the tracking logs.
Some of the findings:
- learners work at workstations that include not only computers but also notebooks, paper printouts, reference books, additional devices, and other people.
- students’ online activities extend beyond the MOOC platform, to a variety of reference resources and online social networks that support student learning. Whereas many MOOCs are designed as a comprehensive learning experience, tudents appear to treat them as a single node in a broader network of learning opportunities.
- MOOC learning takes place in a broader learner world. This world goes beyond workstations, MOOC platforms, and online spaces, and it is a world in which students negotiate for time across multiple competing commitments.
I agree with the authors we should be more aware of what the learners are doing outside the platform. I do question if the HarvardX MOOCs are a good representation of current MOOC course designs. I personnally have the feeling they are still content centered and not focus on the learning experience.
- The Life Between Big Data Log Events. Learners’ Strategies to Overcome Challenges in MOOCs. George Veletsianos, Justin Reich, Laura A. Pasquini. AERA Open Jun 2016, 2 (3) 2332858416657002; DOI: 10.1177/2332858416657002
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