Analysis of the data-driven MOOC literature published in 2013-2015

Posted on April 13th, 2016

A new paper addresses a number of gaps in the scholarly understanding of MOOCs by analyzing empirical literature published between 2013-15. The paper examines factors such as geographic distribution of the studies, publication outlets, data collection and analysis methods. Among some of the results found were that the majority of studies were written by people from North American and European institutions, and researchers favoured a quantitative if not positivist approach to MOOC research, preferring to collect data via surveys and automated methods. It was also noted that there is little research that examines the experiences of learner subpopulations (e.g. those who succeed vs. those who don’t; men vs. women). The paper makes recommendations for researchers studying MOOC-related topics and aims to enable researchers to make better sense of the empirical literature on MOOCs. They note that the implications of the study are not just important for MOOC research, but research on educational technology in general.