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Research Reports

Characteristics of massive open online courses (MOOCs): a research review, 2009-2012

Posted on 28 May 2014 with 0 comments
Learning environment Open scholarship Pedagogy

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This review of research explores characteristics associated with massive open online courses (MOOCs). Three key characteristics are revealed: varied definitions of openness, barriers to persistence, and a distinct structure that takes the form as one of two pedagogical approaches. The concept of openness shifts among different MOOCs, models, researchers, and facilitators. The high dropout rates show that the barriers to learning are a significant challenge. Research has focused on engagement, motivation, and presence to mitigate risks of learner isolation. The pedagogical structure of the connectivist MOOC model (cMOOC) incorporates a social, distributed, networked approach and significant learner autonomy that is geared towards adult lifelong learners interested in personal or professional development. This connectivist approach relates to situated and social learning theories such as social constructivism.


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