Motivations, Achievements, and Challenges of Self-Directed Informal Learners in Open Educational Environments and MOOCs
Keywords:Open educational resources, open education, informal learning, massive open online courses (MOOCs), self-directed learning, intrinsic motivation
This research targeted the learning preferences, goals and motivations, achievements, challenges, and possibilities for life change of self-directed online learners enrolled in a massive open online course (MOOC) related to online teaching hosted by Blackboard using CourseSites. Data collection included a 40-item survey of which 159 MOOC respondents completed the close-ended survey items and 49 completed the 15 open-ended survey items. Across the data, it is clear that self-directed online learners are internally motivated and appreciate the freedom to learn and choice that open educational resources provide. People were also motivated to learn informally from personal curiosity and interest as well as professional growth needs and goals for self-improvement. Identity as a learner was positively impacted by informal online learning pursuits. Foreign language skills as well as global, cultural, historical, environmental, and health-related information were among the most desired by the survey respondents. The main obstacles to informal online learning were time, costs associated with technology use, difficulty of use, and lack of quality. Qualitative results, embedded in the findings, indicate that self-directed learners take great pleasure in knowing that they do not have to rely on others for their learning needs. Implications for instructional designers are offered.
Abdullah, M. H. (2001, December). Self-directed learning, Eric Digest, EDO-CS-01-10. Available from: http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED459458.pdf
Al Haddad, A. (2011, November 11). Too smart for school, too young for college. The National. Available from: http://www.thenational.ae/news/uae-news/too-smart-for-school-too-young-for-college
Beckett, J. (2011, August 16). Free computer science courses, new teaching technology reinvent online education. The Stanford Report. Available from: http://news.stanford.edu/news/2011/august/online-computer-science-081611.html
Belanger, Y., & Thornton, J. (2013, February 5). Bioelectricity: A quantitative approach. Duke University's first MOOC. Available from: http://dukespace.lib.duke.edu/dspace/bitstream/handle/10161/6216/Duke_Bioelectricity_MOOC_Fall2012.pdf
Bersin, J. (2016, January, 5). Use of MOOCs and online education exploding and here’s why. Forbes. Available from: http://www.forbes.com/sites/joshbersin/2016/01/05/use-of-moocs-and-online-education-is-exploding-heres-why/#b4c28997f090
Bethke, R. (2016, May 2). Developing country MOOC users not like those the U.S. eCampus News. Available from: http://www.ecampusnews.com/top-news/developing-country-mooc/
Bonk, C. J. (July 2009). The world is open: How Web technology is revolutionizing education. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Bonk, C. J., Kim, M., & Xu, S. (2016). Do you have a SOLE?: Research on informal and self-directed online learning environments. In J. M. Spector, B. B. Lockee, & M. D. Childress (Eds.), Learning, design, and technology: An international compendium of theory, research, practice and policy. Section: Informal resources and tools for self-directed online learning environments (pp. 1-32). AECT-Springer Major Reference Work (MRW).
Bonk, C. J., Lee, M. M., Kou, X., Xu, S. & Sheu, F.-R. (2015). Understanding the self-directed online learning preferences, goals, achievements, and challenges of MIT OpenCourseWare subscribers. Educational Technology and Society, 18(2), 349-368. Available from: http://www.ifets.info/journals/18_2/26.pdf;
Bonk, C. J., Lee, M. M., Reeves, T. C., & Reynolds, T. H. (Eds). (2015). MOOCs and open education around the world. NY: Routledge.
Bonk, C. J., Lee. M. M., Reeves, T. C., & Reynolds, T. H. (2018). The emergence and design of massive open online courses. In R. A. Reiser & J. V. Dempsey (Eds.), Trends and issues in instructional design and technology (4th Ed.), (pp. 250-258). New York, NY: Pearson Education.
Bowman, K. D. (2012, Summer). Winds of change: Is higher education experiencing a shift in delivery?, Public Purpose Magazine (from the American Association of State Colleges and Universities). Available from: http://www.aascu.org/WorkArea/DownloadAsset.aspx?id=5570
Brookfield, S. D. (2013). Powerful techniques for teaching adults. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Carter, J. (2016). MOOC and learn: The university with 35 million students. TechRadar. Available from: http://www.techradar.com/us/news/world-of-tech/mooc-and-learn-the-university-with-35-million-students-1318037
Catropa, D. (2013, February 24). Big (MOOC) data. Inside Higher Education. Available from: http://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/stratedgy/big-mooc-data
Chandrasekaran, A. (2012, October 15). Lacking teachers and textbooks, India’s schools turn to the Khan Academy to survive. The New York Times Blog. Available from: http://india.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/10/15/lacking-teachers-and-textbooks-indias-schools-turn-to-khan-academy-to-survive/
Christensen, G., Steinmetz, A., Alcorn, B., Bennett, A., & Woods, D. (2013, November 6). The MOOC phenomenon: Who takes massive open online courses and why? University of Pennsylvania. Available from: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2350964
Cho, H., & LaRose, R. (1999). Privacy issues and Internet surveys. Social Science Computer Review, 17(4), 421-434.
Cross, J. (2007). Informal learning: Rediscovering the natural pathways that inspire innovation and performance. San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer/Wiley.
Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (2008). Facilitating optimal motivation and psychological well-being across life’s domains. Canadian Psychology, 49, 14-23. Available from: https://selfdeterminationtheory.org/SDT/documents/2008_DeciRyan_CanPsy_Eng.pdf
Downes, S. (2012, May). Connectivism and connected knowledge: Essays on meaning and learning networks. Available from: http://www.downes.ca/files/Connective_Knowledge-19May2012.pdf
edX (2014, January 21). Harvard and MIT release working papers on open online courses. edX Blog. Available from: https://www.edx.org/blog/harvard-mit-release-working-papers-open#.VOEnbo1TFjs
Friedman, T. (2013, January 26). Revolution hits the universities. The New York Times. Available from: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/27/opinion/sunday/friedman-revolution-hits-the-universities.html?_r=0
Garrison, D. R. (1997). Self-directed learning: Toward a comprehensive model. Adult Education Quarterly, 48(1), 18-33.
Gasevic, D., Kovanovic, V., Joksimovic, S., & Siemens, G. (2014). Where is research on massive open online courses headed? A data analysis of the MOOC Research Initiative. The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 15(5). Available from: http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/viewFile/1954/3111
Graham, C. R. (2006). Blended learning systems: Definition, current trends, future directions. In C. J. Bonk and C. R. Graham (Ed.), The handbook of blended learning: Global perspectives, local designs (pp. 3-21). San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer Publishing. Available from: http://www.publicationshare.com/c1-Charles-Graham-BYU--Definitions-of-Blended.pdf
Hyland, N., & Kranzow, J. (2012). Faculty and student views of using digital tools to enhance self-directed learning and critical thinking. International Journal of Self-Directed Learning, 8(2), 11-27. Available from: http://sdlglobal.com/IJSDL/IJSDL8.2.pdf
Kim, M., Jung, E., Altuwaijri, A., Wang, Y., & Bonk, C. J. (2014, Spring). Analyzing the human learning and development potential of websites available for informal learning. International Journal of Self-Directed Learning, 11(1), 12-28. Available from: http://sdlglobal.com/IJSDL/IJSDL%2011.1%20final.pdf
Kim, B. (2015). (Ed.). MOOCs and educational challenges around Asia and Europe. Seoul, Korea: KNOU Press.
Kim, P., & Chung, C. (2015). Creating a temporary spontaneous mini-ecosystem through a MOOC. In C. J. Bonk, M. M. Lee, T. C. Reeves, & T. H. Reynolds (Eds.), MOOCs and open education around the world (pp. 157-168). New York, NY: Routledge.
Kolowich, S. (2013, February 21). How EdX plans to earn, and share, revenue from its free online courses. The Chronicle of Higher Education. Available from: http://chronicle.com/article/How-EdX-Plans-to-Earn-and/137433/
Kop, R., & Fournier, H. (2010). New dimensions to self-directed learning in an open networked learning environment. International Journal of Self-Directed Learning, 7(2), 2-20. Available from: http://www.sdlglobal.com/IJSDL/IJSDL7.2-2010.pdf
Kop, R., Fournier, H., & Mak, J. S. F. (2011, November). A pedagogy of abundance or a pedagogy to support human beings? Participant support on massive open online courses. International Review of Research on Open and Distance Learning, 12(7). Available from: http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/1041/2025
Lee, M. M. (2016). Exploring research paradigms for MOOCs and open education. Invited presentation at E-Learn 2016—World Conference on E-Learning, Washington, DC.
Lee, M. M., & Bonk, C. J. (2013). Through the words of experts: Cases of expanded classrooms using conferencing technology. Language Facts and Perspectives, 31,107-137.
Lee, M. M., & Reynolds, T. H. (2015). MOOCs and open education: The unique symposium that led to this special issue. In Special Issue: MOOCs and Open Education. International Journal on E-Learning, 14(3), 279-288.
Leland, J. (2012, March 9). Adventures of the teenage polyglot. The New York Times. Available from: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/11/nyregion/a-teenage-master-of-languages-finds-online-fellowship.html?pagewanted=all
Lin, L. (2008). An online learning model to facilitate learners’ rights to education. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 12(1), 127-143. Available from: http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ837473.pdf
Liu, M., Kang, J., Cao, M., Lim, M., Ko, Y., Myers, R., & Weiss, A. S. (2014). Understanding MOOCs as an emerging online learning tool: Perspectives from the students. The American Journal of Distance Education, 28(3), 147-159.
Margaryan, A., Bianco, M., & Littlejohn, A. (2015). Instructional quality of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). Computers & Education, 80, 77-83.
Markoff, J. (2011, August 15). Virtual and artificial, but 58,000 want a course. The New York Times. Available from: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/16/science/16stanford.html?_r=0
Mishra, S., & Kunwar, A. (2015). Quality assurance for open educational resources: What’s the difference? In C. J. Bonk, M. M. Lee, T. C. Reeves, & T. H. Reynolds (Eds.), MOOCs and open education around the world (pp. 119-129). New York, NY: Routledge.
MIT (2001, April 4). MIT to make nearly all course materials available free on the World Wide Web. MIT News. Available from: http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2001/ocw.html
MOOC @ Edinburgh 2013 – Report #1 (2013). MOOC @ Edinburgh 2013 – Report #1. University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, Scotland. Available from: http://www.era.lib.ed.ac.uk/bitstream/1842/6683/1/Edinburgh%20MOOCs%20Report%202013%20%231.pdf
Morrison, D. (2013, April 22). The ultimate student guide to xMOOCs and CMOOCs. MOOC News and Reviews. Available from: http://moocnewsandreviews.com/ultimate-guide-to-xmoocs-and-cmoocso/
Online Course Report (2016, January). State of the MOOC 2016: A year of massive landscape change for massive open online courses. Available from: http://www.onlinecoursereport.com/state-of-the-mooc-2016-a-year-of-massive-landscape-change-for-massive-open-online-courses/
Pappano, L. (2012, November 2). The year of the MOOC. The New York Times. Available from: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/04/education/edlife/massive-open-online-courses-are-multiplying-at-a-rapid-pace.html?pagewanted=all
Pink, D. H. (2009). Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us. New York: Riverhead Books.
Reeve, J. (1996). Motivating others: Nurturing inner motivational resources. Allyn and Bacon: Boston.
Rogers, C. R. (1969). Freedom to learn: A view of what education might become. Columbus, OH: Charles Merrill.
Rogers, C. R. (1983). Freedom to learn for the 80s. Columbus, OH: Charles E. Merrill Publishing Company.
Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2000). Self-determination theory and the facilitation of intrinsic motivation, social development, and well-being. American Psychologist, 55, 68-78. Available from: https://selfdeterminationtheory.org/SDT/documents/2000_RyanDeci_SDT.pdf
Sandeen, C. (2013, Summer). Assessment’s place in the new MOOC world. Research & Practice in Assessment, 8, 5-12.
Schmid, L., Manturuk, K., Simpkins, I., Goldwasser, M., & Whitfield, K. E. (2015). Fulfilling the promise: Do MOOCs reach the educational underserved? Educational Media International. 52(2), 116-128. DOI: 10.1080/09523987.2015.1053288
Shah, D. (2015, December 21). By the numbers: MOOCs in 2015. Class Central. Available from: https://www.class-central.com/report/moocs-2015-stats/
Shah, D. (2016, December 25). By the numbers: MOOCs in 2016. Class Central. Available from: https://www.class-central.com/report/mooc-stats-2016/
Song, L., & Hill, J. (2007). A conceptual model for understanding self-directed learning in online environments. Journal of Interactive Online Learning, 6(1), 27-42. Available from: http://www.ncolr.org/jiol/issues/pdf/6.1.3.pdf
Swan, K., Day, S., Bogle, L., & van Prooyen, T. (2015). AMP: A tool for characterizing the pedagogical approaches of MOOCs. In C. J. Bonk, M. M. Lee, T. C. Reeves, & T. H. Reynolds (Eds.), MOOCs and open education around the world (pp. 105-118). New York, NY: Routledge.
Sze-Yeng, F., & Hussian, R. (2010). Self-directed learning in a socioconstructivist learning environment. Procedia Social and Behavioral Sciences, 9, 1913-1917.
Veletsianos, G. (2015, May 27). The invisible learners taking MOOCs. Inside Higher Ed. Available from: https://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/higher-ed-beta/invisible-learners-taking-moocs
Veletsianos, G., Collier, A., & Schneider, E. (2015). Digging deeper into learners’ experience in MOOCs: Participation in social networks outside of MOOCs, notetaking and contexts surrounding content consumption. British Journal of Educational Technology, 46(3), 570-587.
Waks, L. J. (2013). Education 2.0: The LearningWeb revolution and the transformation of the school. Builder, CO: Paradigm Publishers.
Watson, S. L., Loizzo, J., Watson. W. R., Mueller, C., Lim, J., & Ertmer, P. A. (2015). Instructional design and facilitation of a human trafficking MOOC: A case study of attitudinal change. Unpublished manuscript.
Wedemeyer, C. A. (1981). Learning at the back door: Reflections on nontraditional learning in the lifespan. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press. Reissued: September 2010.
Weibe, E., Thompson, I., & Behrend, T. (2015). MOOCs from the viewpoint of the learner: A response to Perna et al. (2014). Educational Researcher, 44(4), 252-254.
Wexler, E. (2015, October 19). MOOCs are still rising, at least in numbers. The Chronicle of Higher Education. Available from: http://chronicle.com/blogs/wiredcampus/moocs-are-still-rising-at-least-in-numbers/57527
Wilcox, K. E., Sarma, S., & Lippel, P. H. (2016, April). Online education: A Catalyst for higher education reforms. MIT Online Education Policy Initiative: Final Report. Cambridge, MA: MIT. Available from: https://oepi.mit.edu/files/2016/09/MIT-Online-Education-Policy-Initiative-April-2016.pdf
Young, J. R. (2012, June 25). A conversation with Bill Gates about the future of higher education. The Chronicle of Higher Education. Available from: http://chronicle.com/article/A-Conversation-With-Bill-Gates/132591/
How to Cite
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).