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Learners self-directing their learning in MOOCs #Ectel2019

Informal learning in MOOCs is under-investigated. In this presentation we share how adult learners self-direct their learning when engaging in FutureLearn MOOCs. Five areas influence self-directed learning: individual characteristics, technical and media elements, individual & social learning, structuring learning and context. This study also identified two inhibitors or enablers of learning: intrinsic motivation and personal learning goals, where these two factors increase or decrease the dynamics in the five areas of SDL.

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Learners self-directing their learning in MOOCs #Ectel2019

  1. 1. Learners Self-Directing Learning In FutureLearn MOOCs: a Learner-Centered Study
  2. 2. Using 30 minutes for meaningful connecting • Full research paper here, slides here. • Talking … here…
  3. 3. Qualitative study Reich (2015): a collective research effort is required to fully understand the impact of MOOCs … we have terabytes of data about what students clicked and very little understanding of what changed in their heads. (cartoon link)
  4. 4. Research environment: FutureLearn (2014)
  5. 5. Understanding informal adult learning in MOOCs Why? • Understanding how adult learners learn is under- investigated • Self-Directed Learning is important as the professional world is in a constant flux (e.g. energy transition, AI at the work place…) • We need to know the process to construct & design
  6. 6. Investigating adult learners Who engages in MOOCs? most learners are already employed, well educated, from developed countries and have higher levels of formal education (Veletsianos & Shepherdson, 2016; Liyanagunawardena, Lundqvist & Williams, 2015).
  7. 7. “Self-Directed Learning is the process in which individuals take the initiative, with or without the help of others, in diagnosing their learning needs, formulating learning goals, identifying human and material resources for learning, choosing and implementing learning strategies, and evaluating learning outcomes.” (Knowles, 1970)
  8. 8. Self-Determined Learning, Self-Directed Learning & Self-Regulated Learning Loyens, Magda & Rikers (2008) SDL as a design feature of the learning environment stresses students’ freedom in the pursuit of their learning: learners choose what to learn, when and why.
  9. 9. Central research question What characterises the informal self-directed learning of experienced, adult online learners engaging in individual and/or social learning using any device to follow a FutureLearn MOOC?
  10. 10. Sub-questions derived after pilot • Which individual characteristics influence the learning experience? • What are the technical & media elements influencing a learning experience? • How does individual and social learning affect the participants’ learning? • Which actions (if any) did the learners undertake to organise their learning?
  11. 11. Data collection (Research instruments link here) an online survey (start of the course: 3 multiple choice questions and 1 open question), learning logs (during the course, 18 open and closed questions), semi-structured one-on-one remote interviews with participants (post-course, 12 questions).
  12. 12. Collected data in numbers • A pre-course survey: n=115 • Participants who completed learning logs: n=56 • Learning logs kept: n=147 • Semi-structured one-on-one interviews: n=19
  13. 13. Data analysis Constructing Grounded Theory (Charmaz, 2014) • Initial coding, quickly screening all the data to get a feel of possible big subjects mentioned by the data • Line-by-line coding, a strategy which prompts the researcher to study the data closely and begin conceptualization of the ideas • Focused coding, which permits the researcher to separate, sort and synthesize large amounts of data All several iterations until saturation was reached [or researcher collapsed after intense brain fatigue and overdrive]
  14. 14. Five areas influencing SDL • Individual characteristics • Technology and media elements • Individual and social learning • Structuring learning • Context
  15. 15. Individual characteristics • Motivation: choosing a course, intrinsic motivation (61%), • 79% of learning episodes were perceived as successful by the learner • Personal traits: perseverance (28 %) & self- confidence (26 %) mostly daring/doubting entering social learning • (picture link)
  16. 16. Technical and Media elements • Learners decided which learning devices to use and switched depending on their context/situation • 11 % learners actively learned a tool they perceived was professionally useful to them (tool was non- mandatory learning)
  17. 17. Individual versus social learning • 63 % are individual learners (= not actively engaging with others, but including lurking) • Social learners (37 %): • Looking for answers versus experience sharing • Choosing who to interact with (in/outside course) • Reflecting and cohort learning (picture link)
  18. 18. Structuring learning • Learners mediate available time and time investment in social learning • 70 % Learners keep notes, ranging from paper to digital tools (organise learning) • Personal goal setting: dynamic on what is learned (selecting content) and how it’s learned (building on personal learning action preferences, previous knowledge, pedagogical actions – eg. reflecting)
  19. 19. Context Downes (2004): context as seen from the perspective of the learner and related to three personal environments: the learner’s external environment (workplace, learning space, social relations, etc.), internal environment (prior knowledge, philosophical views, learning goals, etc.) and digital environment (prior technological experiences, online tools, etc.). • Contextualizing content • Proximity of context as motivator
  20. 20. Conceptual framework SDL in MOOCs
  21. 21. Future research • Transferable to other informal online learning? • Usable in informal professional learning? • Embedding learning analytics to move towards quantitative data • Design implications (e.g. make courses more contextualizable, mix individual & social learning…) (picture link)
  22. 22. Learning Engine mock-up: building a learning engine for learners (an exclusive) • Link to mock-up: • How did informal learning framework influence design? Learners choose which courses to follow, choose between online/blended formats (if available), data-cases developed (unsupervised Data-cases = transferable to the learners’ context, adding support that is both peer-based as well as mentor enabled.
  23. 23. Contact details • • @ignatia • ngedeWaard • • • @agneskh • e/Agnes_Kukulska-Hulme