MOOCs and the funnel of participation

Clow, Doug (2013). MOOCs and the funnel of participation. In: Third Conference on Learning Analytics and Knowledge (LAK 2013), 8-12 Apr 2013, Leuven, Belgium, pp. 185–189.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1145/2460296.2460332

URL: http://hcibib.org/LAK13#S10

Abstract

Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs) are growing substantially in numbers, and also in interest from the educational community. MOOCs offer particular challenges for what is becoming accepted as mainstream practice in learning analytics.

Partly for this reason, and partly because of the relative newness of MOOCs as a widespread phenomenon, there is not yet a substantial body of literature on the learning analytics of MOOCs. However, one clear finding is that drop-out/non-completion rates are substantially higher than in more traditional education.

This paper explores these issues, and introduces the metaphor of a ‘funnel of participation’ to reconceptualise the steep drop-off in activity, and the pattern of steeply unequal participation, which appear to be characteristic of MOOCs and similar learning environments. Empirical data to support this funnel of participation are presented from three online learning sites: iSpot (observations of nature), Cloudworks (‘a place to share, find and discuss learning and teaching ideas and experiences’), and openED 2.0, a MOOC on business and management that ran between 2010-2012. Implications of the funnel for MOOCs, formal education, and learning analytics practice are discussed.

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