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Impact of mobile access on learner interactions in a mooc method and findings


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This presentations zooms in on the impact of mobile access on learner interactions in MOOCs. It briefly touches the rationale, the methodology of the research and it offers a link to the final thesis, as well as to follow up research looking at self-directed learning.

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Impact of mobile access on learner interactions in a mooc method and findings

  1. 1. Impact of mobile access onlearner interactions in a MOOCInge Ignatia de WaardCALRG conference
  2. 2. What to expect?• Background• Research environment• Methodology• Findings• Towards PhD research• Status PhD pilot study
  3. 3. Background• Professional expertise in mobile Health fordeveloping regions• Personal and professional interest in onlinelearning, more particularly: Massive Open OnlineCourses (MOOC)• Master thesis Athabasca University, Canada=> combining mLearning and MOOC• => now: PhD student at OU looking at SDL inmobile MOOC environment, FutureLearn
  4. 4. Research environmentMobiMOOC = mobile MOOC lab• Using course spaces build for mobile (researching differences)• Different facilitator approaches(passive, active, participatory…)• Different course architecture (linear, branching…)• Different learning/teaching dynamics (behaviorist => social-constructivist/connectivist)• Different course durations
  5. 5. About MobiMOOCA Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on mobilelearning (mLearning) => MobiMOOC1250 learners, 17 facilitators, 9 weeks, 14 mLearningtopics:2 core course spaces:Course wiki ( discussion group• MobiMOOC 2011, first run: April-May 2011• MobiMOOC 2012, September 2012
  6. 6. Research questionCentral QuestionHow does mobile access impact learner interaction in a MOOC?In this question ‘impact’ is the central word, which – in this case –refers to whether learner interactions in MOOCs change in any given direction(increase/decrease/stagnate) when a MOOC is made mobile enabled.Sub-questions.• Do course participants access a MOOC with their mobile devices if it ismade mobile enabled? (mobile web statistics)• Is there a difference in learner interactions between mobile and non-mobile users in an open, online course / MOOC? (Community of Inquiryapproach)• How do the social versus cognitive academic interactions compare to eachsample group? (Community of Inquiry approach)• Which factors influence mobile access? (Qualitative data analysis)• What factors influence adult learners to engage in learner interactions in aMOOC? (Qualitative data analysis)
  7. 7. MethodologySequential explanatory mixed methods designQualitative data collection/analysis:• Web statistics of 2 course locations (course wiki, YouTubemedia content)• Online survey (reasons for choosing mobile, influencingfactors, importance added to personal learning, self-directed learning capacity,• Community of Inquiry (CoI) for learner interactions (coursediscussion group)Qualitative data collection/analysis:• 1-o-1 structured interviews analyzed through a process ofopen, axial and selective coding
  8. 8. Target population112 MobiMOOC2012 participants engaging inlearner interactionsQuantitative phase• Web analytics: everyone accessing wiki/YouTube• Online survey and CoI: 34 self-proclaimedmoderately active participants divided into 2groups: 18 mobile users, 16 non-mobile users.Qualitative phase (1-o-1 interviews): 14 moderatelyactive participants (7 mobile and 7 non-mobile)
  9. 9. Quantitative findingsWeb analytics looking at mobile use• Factors influencing the access of content materials on the web (deviceaffordance, readability, time…),• Definite influence on returning to or consuming content via mobile devices (first mobileattempt, desktop return).Online survey: Mobile users and learner interactions:• found the ability to engage in learner interactions of more importance than the non-mobileusers.• perceived themselves as better at self-directing their learning during the course• engaged more frequently in answering questions and commenting on blogposts, whereasthe non-mobile user group engaged more in informal chatting (webinars).• shared more information with people outside of MobiMOOC in comparison to the non-mobile group.• mentioned that time & location were deciding factors for using mobile devices.Community of Inquiry: mobile versus non-mobile learner interactions :• Significantly more learner interactions for the mobile group in comparison to the non-mobilegroup.• Mobile users engage more frequently in learner interactions than the non-mobile users. Asignificant difference in the cognitive presence sub-categories. Mobile users seem to cometo a ‘resolution’ much more frequently than there non-mobile counterparts.
  10. 10. Qualitative findingsOpen, axial and selective coding phase, analyzing 1-o-1interviews with 14 moderately active participants (7mobile, 7 non-mobile).The study gave rise to a set of strategies that can optimizethe impact of mobile access on learner interactions in aMOOC.
  11. 11. Strategies on design, self-directedlearning and digital skillsDesign• Offer a ubiquitous learning environment based on BYOD design andcontent, making use of existing ubiquitous tools (social media, e-mail…) sopeople can switch between devices at their own preference.• Create a user-friendly, one button centralized access learningenvironment, linked to a clear course overview to increasetransparency, user-friendliness .Self-directed learning• Provide self-directed learning strategies to the learners.• Provide the learner with a mobile course overview/structure that s/he canorganize for self-directing learning purposes.• Enabling immediate access to content/discussion areas adds to timemanagement and self-directed learning.Digital skills• Increase the necessary (mobile) digital skills of the learner. If a course isaccessible for a multitude of devices, it affects (the need for) digitalskills, because multiple devices have multiple characteristics andaffordances.
  12. 12. Strategies on content, human learningenvironment and course activitiesContent• Offer an array of course materials, varying from bite size snacks to big, timeconsuming content. Offering the learner a choice to tailor the content to theircurrent contexts.• Provide a sense of ownership about the content and the learning:BYOD, contextualized options, this adds to the overall learner motivation.Human learning environment• Ensure a safe learning environment. This essential to increase learner interactionsin general. Tolerance, trust, daring to write in a non-native language and knowingthat one can pose every content related question and not being judged for it isessential.• Allow networks to emerge. A community feeling based upon easy (mobile) accessincreases the formation of a more durable professional network for thoseconnecting to each other in a way that surpasses the course duration.Course activities• Embed icebreaker activities and/or discussions at the beginning of the course thatdemand only a fraction of time to interact and can be accessed cross devices.These activities should also be linked to intellectual topics.
  13. 13. Prelude to PhD: pilot studyFirst internal FutureLearn course July 2013.
  14. 14. SDL in new complexitySelf-directed learning• Provide self-directed learning (SDL) strategies to thelearners.• Provide the learner with a mobile courseoverview/structure that s/he can organize for self-directing learning purposes.• Enabling immediate access to content/discussion areasadds to time management and self-directed learning.• => but what are the SDL strategies in a complexenvironment like a mobile MOOC? => research gap
  15. 15. FutureLearn research environmentFirst initial, internal FutureLearn course for internal testing – target population ispart of FutureLearn team and partners.
  16. 16. Why a phenomenological approach?Phenomenological research is a strategy of inquiry in whichthe researcher identifies the essence of human experiencesabout a phenomenon as described by participants.The procedure involves studying a small number of subjectsthrough extensive and prolonged engagement do developpatterns and relationships of meaning (Moustakas, 1994).
  17. 17. 3 stages for collecting dataThe pilot stage will consist of 3 stages to grasp theexpectations, experiences and reflections of the FutureLearnparticipants.• Phase 1 - expectations: using an online survey which will bedelivered to all pilot study participants two weeks before theFuturLearn course.• Phase 2 – keeping learning diary logs: two learning diary logs: aweekly and a daily learning log, used during the course.• Phase 3 – reflections: structured focus group interviews plannedonce the course has finished.Expectations Experiences Reflections
  18. 18. Online Survey Pre-Course• Tool used: SurveyMonkey (mobile)• Data collected: prior to course• Topics covered:– MOOC experience– mLearning experience– Social media experience– FutureLearn expectations
  19. 19. Learning Diary LogsBuilds upon Vavoula’s (2005) learning diarytemplates. The templates have been updated andaltered to be appropriate both for the FutureLearnplatform and the contemporary learning realities• Weekly learning log: reflects the type ofFutureLearn interactions the participant engagedin• Daily learning log: reflects actual learning foreach day the participant engages in FutureLearn.
  20. 20. Structured Focus Group InterviewLooking at the participants reflections on thecourse, their devices used, their individual andcollaborative learning experiences, their overallevaluation of the course and the strategies they adoptedrelated to SDL.
  21. 21. Want to read more?• The full mobile impact on MOOC thesis can beaccessed here).• A draft report with literature review and methodologyon pilot study with research instruments, can be foundhere (with some brief pointers on writing a probationreport).
  22. 22. Contact me: questions, networking…22E-mail: ingedewaard (at) gmail.comBlog: ignatiawebs.blogspot.comTwitter: feel free to talk to me right here, right now!