The Impact of Self-Regulated Learning (SRL) on Students’ Completion of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)



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Background: Despite the popularity of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), low MOOC completion rates have been of concern to many higher education institutions that offer them. Initial studies on MOOC completion have investigated the role of student intent, which is one of the strategies in Self-Regulated Learning (SRL), on MOOC completion and found that students who declared their intention to complete their courses had higher completion rates than those who did not declare that intent. SRL is an important construct in education that has been shown to have a high correlation with students' achievement. Purpose: The present study investigated the impact of Self-Regulated Learning (SRL) on students’ completion of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). Methods: Participants in the study were at least 18 years old, were registered in one of the two MOOCs offered by a public university in the Southwestern United States from the period of summer 2014 to summer 2016, and completed at least one assignment that counted toward MOOC completion. The participants’ SRL levels were measured using the Online Self-Regulated Learning Questionnaire (OSLQ) through an online survey. The data collected were analyzed using ANOVA. Results: Six-hundred-forty-six respondents provided demographic information and completed the OSLQ. Most respondents reported that they completed a MOOC (66.10%), were enrolled in the Signature Track program (87.3%), were female (68.27%), had a Bachelor’s degree (49.54%), and had high levels of English language proficiency (mean score of 4.42 out of 5). The age range of the respondents was from 19 to 84 years old (mean = 45.64). Four out of the five subscales – goal setting (p = 0.00), environment structuring (p = 0.00), time management (p = 0.03), help seeking (p = 0.01), and self-evaluation (p = 0.00) – had significant impacts on MOOC completion. Conclusion: SRL strategies were shown to have an impact on MOOC completion. Application of these strategies in the design of a MOOC can potentially improve course completion.



MOOC, Massive open online courses, MOOC completion, SRL, Self-regulated learning