Technology Tools and Instructional Strategies for Designing and Delivering MOOCs to Facilitate Self-monitoring of Learners

  • Meina Zhu Wayne State University
  • Curtis J. Bonk Indiana University
Keywords: massive open online courses (MOOCs), self-monitoring, self-directed learning, instructional design, MOOC instructors


This mixed-methods study examines the design and delivery of MOOCs to facilitate student self-monitoring for self-directed learning (SDL). The data collection methods included an online survey (n = 198), semi-structured interviews of MOOC instructors (n = 22), and document analysis of MOOCs (n = 22). This study found that MOOC instructors viewed self-monitoring skills vital for SDL. MOOC instructors reported that they facilitated students’ self-monitoring with both internal and external feedback. Students’ internal feedback is related to cognitive and metacognitive processes. Among the methods used to facilitate cognitive processes were quizzes, tutorials, learning strategies, learning aids, and progress bars. To foster metacognition, MOOC instructors provided reflection questions and attempted to create learning communities. In addition, MOOC instructors, teaching assistants, and peers provided external feedback for students’ self-monitoring. In addition, synchronous communication technologies, asynchronous communication technologies, and feedback were used with diverse purposes in supporting student’s self-monitoring. 

Author Biographies

Meina Zhu, Wayne State University

Meina Zhu is Assistant Professor in the Learning Design and Technology program in the College of Education at Wayne State University. Her research interests include online education, MOOCs, self-directed learning, STEM education, and active learning.

Curtis J. Bonk, Indiana University
Curtis J. Bonk ( is Professor of Instructional Systems Technology at Indiana University and author/editor of a dozen books in the field of educational technology and e-learning. He is a passionate and energetic speaker, writer, educational psychologist, instructional technologist, and entrepreneur as well as a former CPA/corporate controller (homepage:


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How to Cite
Zhu, M., & Bonk, C. J. (2020). Technology Tools and Instructional Strategies for Designing and Delivering MOOCs to Facilitate Self-monitoring of Learners. Journal of Learning for Development , 7(1), 31-45. Retrieved from
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