Learning in MOOCs: motivations and self-regulated learning in MOOCs

Allison Littlejohn, Nina Hood*, Colin Milligan, Paige Mustain

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    344 Citations (Scopus)
    2414 Downloads (Pure)


    Massive open online courses (MOOCs) require individual learners to be able to self-regulate their learning, determining when and how they engage. However, MOOCs attract a diverse range of learners, each with different motivations and prior experience. This study investigates the self-regulated learning (SRL) learners apply in a MOOC, in particular focusing on how learners' motivations for taking a MOOC influence their behaviour and employment of SRL strategies. Following a quantitative investigation of the learning behaviours of 788 MOOC participants, follow-up interviews were conducted with 32 learners. The study compares the narrative descriptions of behaviour between learners with self-reported high and low SRL scores. Substantial differences were detected between the self-described learning behaviours of these two groups in five of the sub-processes examined. Learners' motivations and goals were found to shape how they conceptualised the purpose of the MOOC, which in turn affected their perception of the learning process.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)40-48
    Number of pages9
    JournalInternet and Higher Education
    Early online date11 Dec 2015
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 2016


    • massive open online courses
    • self-regulated learning
    • Higher Education
    • professional learning


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