Education ForumEDUCATION RESEARCH

Rebooting MOOC Research

Science  02 Jan 2015:
Vol. 347, Issue 6217, pp. 34-35
DOI: 10.1126/science.1261627

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Summary

The chief executive officer of edX, Anant Agarwal, declared that Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) should serve as “particle accelerator for learning” (1). MOOCs provide new sources of data and opportunities for large-scale experiments that can advance the science of learning. In the years since MOOCs first attracted widespread attention, new lines of research have begun, but findings from these efforts have had few implications for teaching and learning. Big data sets do not, by virtue of their size, inherently possess answers to interesting questions. For MOOC research to advance the science of learning, researchers, course developers, and other stakeholders must advance the field along three trajectories: from studies of engagement to research about learning, from investigations of individual courses to comparisons across contexts, and from a reliance on post hoc analyses to greater use of multidisciplinary, experimental design.