Crowd-Sourced Learning in MOOCs
Do you know what it takes to learn effectively in a crowded but possibly lonely MOOC space? Are the required skills to learn in MOOC learnable?
Findings from detailed studies of two MOOCs from the University of Melbourne: The Assessment and Teaching of 21st Century Skills (ATC21S) MOOC, which registered over 18,000 participants, mostly experienced practising teachers; and Introduction to Macro-Economics MOOC (MacroMOOC), an under-graduate-level course which registered over 60,000 participants offer some insights for learners, teachers and designers using crowd-sourcing in digital environments
Crowd-Sourced Learning in MOOCs is a site recording the ongoing study mentioned, which intends to examined four hypotheses:
- there is a complex, latent ‘21st century’ skill required by MOOC participants to crowd-source their learning in MOOC forums;
- individuals possess this skill to differing degrees and these differences explain in part differences in learning outcomes;
- forum activities such as posting, voting, and viewing do not in and of themselves generate learning, but skilled learners are adept at using them in particular ways to generate learning; and
- measurement theory and its associated methodologies make possible a mapping of patterns of forum activity onto a learning progression describing the hypothesised latent skill, and this mapping can be used to infer individuals’ level of skill.
According to the findings, in MOOC forums expert learners behave like this:
- 70% active in forums in any given week
- most are active each week
- 74% view more than 20 threads, usually viewing scores of threads
- usually post and vote in a quarter of threads visited
- most make multiple thread views of several threads in each active week
- typically create threads during the MOOC
- post and vote in more weeks than not, often multiple times in a number of threads
- receive the most views of their threads and the most votes for their threads and posts, including notably negative votes
- 88% experience positive or negative (or both) votes on their posts
- posts cover a wide range of core topics
- participate in peer grading and evaluation
- watch most videos
- less likely to game assessments
- 78% received at least a pass score, 67% a distinction score
- not always the most frequent posters
But, they found forums are not necessarily learning communities, and most participants in a MOOC do not try to learn using crowd-sourcing(participating in forum), patterns of forum usage vary widely by users, although the capacity to crowd-sourcing learning appears to pay off.
The researchers build a 3-strand 5-level theoretical skills framework — Crowd-Sourcing Progression. It is a description of the attitudes, values, understandings and knowledge that typically distinguish experts in an area from novices, and all the levels of skill in between. If it has been tested in practice, it is called an ’empirical progression’.
HERE, review the research underpinning the site, and find references and further readings.