Self-regulated learning strategies predict learner behavior and goal attainment in Massive Open Online Courses


Behaviour of students in a MOOC.

Dear all, I’m glad to inform that it’s been published the paper “Self-regulated learning strategies predict learner behavior and goal attainment in Massive Open Online Courses“. This is an extension of the work that we started with René Kizilcec and Jorge Maldonado and which was published at the L@Scale Conference 2016 “Recommending Self-Regulated Strategies Does Not Improve Performance“.

Below I copy the abstract and the main results of the paper. I hope you enjoy it!

ABSTRACT. Individuals with strong self-regulated learning (SRL) skills, characterized by the ability to plan, manage and control their learning process, can learn faster and achieve higher grades compared to those with weaker SRL skills. SRL is critical in learning environments that provide low levels of support and guidance, as is commonly the case in Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). Learners can be trained to engage in SRL and further supported by facilitating prompts, activities, and tools. However, effective implementation of learner support systems in MOOCs requires an understanding of which SRL strategies are most effective and how these strategies manifest in learner behavior. Moreover, identifying learner characteristics that are predictive of weaker SRL skills can advance efforts to provide targeted support without obtrusive survey instruments. We investigated SRL in a sample of 4831 learners across six MOOCs based on individual records of overall course achievement, interactions with course content, and survey responses. Results indicated that goal setting and strategic planning predicted attainment of personal course goals, while help seeking appeared to be counterproductive. Learners with stronger SRL skills were more likely to revisit previously studied course materials, especially course assessments. Several learner characteristics, including demographics and motivation, predicted learners’ SRL skills. We discuss implications and next steps towards online learning environments that provide targeted support and guidance.

And here you have the main highlights:

1. Goal setting and strategic planning positively predict goal attainment in MOOCs.

2. Help seeking negatively predicts goal attainment, e.g., earning a certificate.

3. Self-reported SRL strategies manifest behaviorally in revisiting course content.

4. Learner characteristics (demographics, motivation, etc.) predict self-reported SRL.