Learning in MOOCs: Motivations and self-regulated learning in MOOCs

Littlejohn, Allison; Hood, Nina; Milligan, Colin and Mustain, Paige (2016). Learning in MOOCs: Motivations and self-regulated learning in MOOCs. The Internet and Higher Education, 29 pp. 40–48.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.iheduc.2015.12.003


Massive open online courses (MOOCs) require individual learners to be able to self-regulate their learning, determining when and how they engage. However, MOOCs attract a diverse range of learners, each with different motivations and prior experience. This study investigates the self-regulated learning (SRL) learners apply in a MOOC, in particular focusing on how learners' motivations for taking a MOOC influence their behaviour and employment of SRL strategies. Following a quantitative investigation of the learning behaviours of 788 MOOC participants, follow-up interviews were conducted with 32 learners. The study compares the narrative descriptions of behaviour between learners with self-reported high and low SRL scores. Substantial differences were detected between the self-described learning behaviours of these two groups in five of the sub-processes examined. Learners' motivations and goals were found to shape how they conceptualised the purpose of the MOOC, which in turn affected their perception of the learning process.

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  • Item ORO ID
  • 46402
  • Item Type
  • Journal Item
  • ISSN
  • 1096-7516
  • Keywords
  • massive open online courses; self-regulated learning; higher education; professional learning
  • Academic Unit or School
  • Institute of Educational Technology (IET)
  • Copyright Holders
  • © 2015 Elsevier Inc
  • Depositing User
  • Allison Littlejohn