Self-regulated learning behaviour and MOOC participation

Colin Milligan, Allison Littlejohn

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

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    Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are typically designed around a self-guided format that assumes learners can regulate their own learning, rather than relying on teacher guidance. However, MOOCs attract diverse groups of learners, many of whom have difficulty with self-regulation. This study examined how health professionals regulated their learning in a MOOC: Fundamentals of Clinical Trials offered by Harvard and edX. The study addresses the research question: What self-regulated learning (SRL) strategies do professional learners apply in a MOOC? A self-report instrument was used to measure SRL factors, which are an indicator of good self-regulation. The instrument produced an SRL profile for each learner, surfacing individual assessments of how professionals self-regulate their learning. Profiles were supplemented by qualitative data from 35 interviews, which exposed how each learner enacted each SRL sub-factor. Learners with high and low SRL scores described qualitatively different levels of self-regulation. When mapped against qualitative data about each learner’s SRL strategies, the profiles appear to provide a fair representation of the learning process. These profiles could be provided to learners to help them reflect on their learning. Improved understanding of their own capacity to self-regulate their learning may guide learners to improve their learning and development.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 29 Aug 2015


    • self-regulated learning
    • MOOC
    • learning behaviour


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