Patterns of engagement in connectivist MOOCs
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MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching (2013)

Connectivist massive open online courses (cMOOCs) represent an important new pedagogical approach ideally suited to the network age. However, little is known about how the learning experience afforded by cMOOCs is suited to learners with different skills, motivations, and dispositions. In this study, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 29 participants on the Change11 cMOOC. These accounts were analyzed to determine patterns of engagement and factors affecting engagement in the course. Three distinct types of engagement were recognized – active participation, passive participation, and lurking. In addition, a number of key factors that mediated engagement were identified including confidence, prior experience, and motivation. This study adds to the overall understanding of learning in cMOOCs and provides additional empirical data to a nascent research field. The findings provide an insight into how the learning experience afforded by cMOOCs suits the diverse range of learners that may coexist within a cMOOC. These insights can be used by designers of future cMOOCs to tailor the learning experience to suit the diverse range of learners that may choose to learn in this way.
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