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How enrolling on a MOOC as a small group will lead to academic success

Posted in 'Articles by the MoocLab Community' started by Carolyn, May 5, 2016.

  1. Carolyn

    Carolyn Founder at MoocLab Staff Member

    Suffolk, UK
    There has been a lot of talk recently about the benefits of collaborative learning in MOOCs. The "M" in "MOOC" stands for "massive", meaning that these open online courses attract thousands of learners all studying a course together. Naturally, this should provide the perfect environment for peers to support and learn from each other through collaboration and interaction in the course forums. HOWEVER, this doesn't appear to be happening. The very fact that MOOCs attract learners en mass is actually detrimental to creating collaborative groups within a course as there are simply too many people. Where do you start? How do you find others to engage with out of thousands of other learners all at different levels, with different needs and learning styles, and with different cultural backgrounds?

    A recent study by Pennsylvania State University suggests that students are more likely to successfully finish a massive open online course (MOOC) if they engage in small social media groups. Being able to form groups of study BEFORE enrolling on a MOOC allows students to meet and get to know each other in advance, something MOOC platforms don't currently offer. The group can then interact more comfortably once the course starts, leading to a more productive collaborative learning experience. Keeping the study groups small in size also avoids the information overload and confusion that can occur on the MOOC discussion forums. The Penn State study showed that students engaged in course Facebook groups were far more active in the discussions than students who used the MOOC discussion boards.

    The number of MOOC students who stick with a course through to the end is famously low, and there are numerous theories behind this trend. This isn't a problem in itself as the motivations behind taking an open online course can be quite varied, and finishing a course isn't always the objective. But if you are serious about completing a course, joining or creating a Study Group prior to enrolling can significantly increase both your enjoyment and your academic success.

    With this in mind, MoocLab has recently launched a Study Groups feature allowing users to join or create Study Groups for online courses. As a group member, participants can create discussions & polls for great interaction, create group events, share study resources, engage in live video chats with fellow learners and invite others to join. The group owner can choose to keep their Study Group open for anyone to join or closed so only group members can view the discussions and participate.

    I'd like to invite you to try out MoocLab's Study Groups and share any feedback on your user experience so we can ensure they provide a great collaborative learning environment for your online courses and MOOCs.

    Click here to be taken to the Study Groups Page

    Carolyn McIntyre, CEO at MoocLab.club
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  2. MoocList

    MoocList New Member

    MOOC platforms need to address the extremely high drop out rates of students. Its not that easy. Whilst I admire the social element, I'm sure its sticky enough to keep people motivated - we may just be too early for social in the MOOC space.
    Carolyn likes this.

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