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Towards an Instructional Design Motivational Framework to Address the Retention Gap in MOOCs

Presentation of the paper "Addressing the Retention Gap in MOOCs: Towards a Motivational Framework for MOOCs Instructional Design" at EARLI 2015 conference.

Existing design schemes of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) usually focus on pedagogy, assessment and technology and rarely take into account learners’ experience and motivation. Drawing from the success of quest-based initiatives, gamified web platforms, and multi-user digital games, this paper introduces an innovative motivational framework for MOOCs instructional design coined as Open Quest Framework (OpenQuest). The framework is grounded on established motivational theories such as the Self-Determination Theory and Situated Motivational Affordance. It features specific motivational mechanisms including, quests and narration, reputation systems, progression mechanisms, multiple learning pathways, well-designed feedback and social elements, that can be used to enhance learners' engagement and reduce attrition rates in MOOCs.

Towards an Instructional Design Motivational Framework to Address the Retention Gap in MOOCs

  1. 1. Addressing the Retention Gap in MOOCs: Towards a Motivational Framework for MOOCs Instructional Design Christothea Herodotou, The Open University, UK Stylianos Mystakidis, University of Patras & University of Jyväskylä 26/8/2015 1EARLI2015
  2. 2. MOOCs • Massive Open Online Courses e.g. Coursera, edX, Futurelearn. • High drop-out rates – completion rates lower than 10% • Should module completion be a requirement? • MOOCs design currently focused on cognitive and technical aspects of learning Our aim: To develop a framework -Open Quest Framework-which will potentially tackle the need for motivating learners towards MOOC completion and contribute to the affective realm of course design. 26/8/2015 EARLI2015 2
  3. 3. Developing OpenQuest Quest-based initiatives Gamified web platforms MMORPGs 26/8/2015 EARLI2015 3 Open Quest Framework
  4. 4. Underpinnings of OpenQuest • Self-determination theory (Ryan, Rigby, & Przybylski, 2006) • Flow theory (Csikszentmihalyi, 1990) • Situated Motivational Affordances (Deterding, 2011) 26/8/2015 EARLI2015 4
  5. 5. Self-Determination Theory 26/8/2015 5EARLI2015
  6. 6. Flow theory 26/8/2015 6EARLI2015
  7. 7. Situated Motivational Affordances • Transfer of game elements from one context to another does not necessarily lead to the same motivational affordances • Need to meaningfully integrate game elements in a new context • Understand users (e.g.expectations, skills) • Understand the organizational context of learning (e.g. CPDs acquisition, curiosity) 26/8/2015 EARLI2015 7
  8. 8. Components of OpenQuest (1/3)  Design of learning activities as Quests • Delivery of the content of a MOOC in the form of quests (Activity 1 Quest 1) • Learning comes out as a natural characteristic of play • Quests are found to be effective in terms of learning performance, persistence and engagement in initiatives (e.g. the Quest to Learn, the 3D GameLab • Practical application: Quests can be arranged in the form of a story/narration where learners’ responses contribute to the story’s progression. 26/8/2015 EARLI2015 8
  9. 9. 26/8/2015 EARLI2015 9
  10. 10. Components of OpenQuest (2/3)  Social elements Reputation systems as rewards to learners e.g. badges, social and scientific scores - Effective in reinforcing participation and creation of a community of learners (e.g. iSpot). Adaptable leaderboards - Contrasting learner’s performance to meaningfully-related others (e.g., teammates) increases intrinsic motivation. 26/8/2015 EARLI2015 10
  11. 11. Components of OpenQuest (3/3) Collaborative mechanisms - Motivational cornerstone of successful multi- user games explaining persistence in gaming - Course participation can be enhanced by performance responsibility towards peers in team coursework. Well-designed feedback through timed triggers and unexpected rewards - Reinforce learners’ participation. 26/8/2015 EARLI2015 11
  12. 12. • User centre design • Flexibility • Personalization • Self-directed learning 26/8/2015 EARLI2015 12 Quest 1a Competitive Quest 1b Collaborative Quest 1c Easy Quest 1d Difficult LEVEL 1 Quest 2a Text-based Quest 2b Project-based Quest 2c Lab-based Quest 2d Forum- based Quest 3a Quest 3b Quest 3c Quest 3d LEVEL 2 LEVEL 3 Screen learners’ profile (e.g., expectations, motives) and propose type of entry quest •Number users completing quest •Badges given when achieved •Team/individual with max score LEADERBOARD •Within the group •Overall ranking •Related to specific quest
  13. 13. Challenges • Although evidence favour the effectiveness of the proposed mechanisms, engagement may not be long-term but due to a novelty effect. • Factors including initial motivations for MOOC registration, learners’ characteristics and ways of engagement in MOOCs may mediate the success or failure of the proposed framework. • Subsequent studies will monitor participants engagement with a MOOC (e.g. learning analytics) in order to inform and refine the design of the proposed framework. 26/8/2015 EARLI2015 13
  14. 14. Christothea Herodotou christothea.herodotou@open.ac.uk Stylianos Mystakidis smyst@upatras.gr 26/8/2015 14EARLI2015 Thank you!

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