A conceptual framework for learners self-directing their learning in MOOCs: components, enablers and inhibitors

de Waard, Inge and Kukulska-Hulme, Agnes (2020). A conceptual framework for learners self-directing their learning in MOOCs: components, enablers and inhibitors. In: Yu, Shengquan; Ally, Mohamed and Tsinakos, Avgoustos eds. Emerging Technologies and Pedagogies in the Curriculum. Bridging Human and Machine: Future Education with Intelligence. Singapore: Springer, pp. 377–397.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-15-0618-5


The conceptual framework presented in this chapter describes the learning components influencing the learning experiences of adult informal learners engaged in MOOCs offered on the FutureLearn platform. It consists of five learning components: individual characteristics, technology, individual & social learning, organising learning, and context. These five learning components are driven by two enablers or inhibitors of learning: motivation and learning goals. For adult informal learners, motivation is mostly intrinsic, and learning goals are mostly personal. This research investigated the informal learning of 56 adult learners with prior online experience, as they studied various subjects in MOOCs. Literature on MOOCs, mobile and informal learning provides scientific support, in addition to literature clarifying the rationale for self-directed learning as a focus of investigation. The participants of this study voluntarily followed one of three FutureLearn courses that were rolled out for the first time at the end of 2014. Data were collected at three stages through an online survey (pre-course), self-reported learning logs (during the course), and semi-structured one-on-one interviews (post-course). The data were analysed using Charmaz’s (2014) method for constructing a grounded theory.

Viewing alternatives

Download history


Public Attention

Altmetrics from Altmetric

Number of Citations

Citations from Dimensions

Item Actions



  • Item ORO ID
  • 69117
  • Item Type
  • Book Section
  • ISBN
  • 981-1506-17-5, 978-981-1506-17-8
  • Keywords
  • MOOC; self-directed learning; conceptual framework; enablers; barriers; adult informal learners
  • Academic Unit or School
  • Institute of Educational Technology (IET)
  • Research Group
  • OpenTEL
  • Copyright Holders
  • © 2020 Springer
  • Depositing User
  • Agnes Kukulska-Hulme