Why size matters in MOOCs

Brenda Cecilia Padilla Rodriguez*, Cesar Alejandro Armellini

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle

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Since their appearance in 2008, Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have become prevalent within higher education. As prestigious institutions offer them free of charge or sometimes for a small fee, MOOCs are an attractive option for students worldwide. They commonly have thousands of enrolled users. However, few people actually complete them. Most MOOCs are between six and ten weeks long. As they progress, engagement tends to decrease and participants drop out. We wondered if shorter MOOCs could prevent this “funnel participation” phenomenon. Previous research on the topic is descriptive. It compares existing MOOCs with MOOCs of different durations and, thus, a variety of factors other than the length of the course – such as the topic, type of assessment or pedagogical approach – could explain the different levels of learner participation. Our question remained: Could dividing MOOCs into smaller chunks be enough to make them more engaging?
Original languageEnglish
Specialist publicationResearching Education
Publication statusPublished - 21 Nov 2020


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