Analysis of the data-driven MOOC literature published in 2013-2015

A number of literature reviews have been published on MOOCs. None has focused exclusively on the empirical literature. In a recent paper, we analyzed the empirical literature published on MOOCs in 2013-2015 to make greater sense of who studies what and how.  We found that:

  • more than 80% of this literature is published by individuals whose home institutions are in North America and Europe,
  • a select few papers are widely cited while nearly half of the papers are cited zero times,
  • researchers have favored a quantitative if not positivist approach to the conduct of MOOC research,
  • researchers have preferred the collection of data via surveys and automated methods
  • some interpretive research was conducted on MOOCs in this time period, but it was often basic and it was the minority of studies that were informed by methods traditionally associated with qualitative research (e.g., interviews, observations, and focus groups)
  • there is limited research reported on instructor-related topics, and
  • even though researchers have attempted to identify and classify learners into various groupings, very little research examines the experiences of learner subpopulations (e.g., those who succeed vs those who don’t; men vs women).

We believe that the implications arising from this study are important for research on educational technology in general and not jut MOOC research. For instance, given the interest on big data and automated collection/analysis of the data trails that learners leave behind on digital learning environments, a broader methodological toolkit is imperative in the study of emerging digital learning environments.

Here’s a copy of the paper:

Veletsianos, G. & Shepherdson, P. (2016). A Systematic Analysis And Synthesis of the Empirical MOOC Literature Published in 2013-2015The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 17(2).



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1 Comment

  1. George Veletsianos establece una hipotesis, que podemos considerar parcial, a medias o del todo incierta. Quiere analizar unos MOOCs, los xMOOCs, que verdaderamente no lo son.
    Los cMOOCS, mejor dicho, el único cMOOC que se hizo solo era la explicación de lo que era el Conectivista y se hizo una especie de prolongación del mismo, por tanto una vez más, es imposible analizarlo…

    Por otro lado, si que es cierto que en paralelo, Veletsianos ha hecho una serie de constataciones de elementos importantes para cualquier proceso de aprendizaje abierto, la automatización de datos, asi como un conjunto de herramientas metodológica más amplias que son imprescindibles en el estudio de los emergentes entornos digitales de aprendizaje….

    Juan Domingo Farnos

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