Quality assurance methods assessing instructional design and active learning pedagogies in MOOCs: an evaluative case study
KeywordsMOOCs ; Quality assurance methods ; Quality frameworks ; Assessment tools ; Instructional design ; Active learning pedagogies ; Collaborative learning ; Gamification
Nowadays more and more Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) appear, offering numerous online courses around a variety of topics. Many big institutions around the world devote too much effort on providing high-quality MOOC experience, encouraging the participation of as many as possible individuals worldwide. Consequently, many studies appear focusing on the improvement of MOOC experience from various aspects, while analyzing the feedback that they receive after the implementation of their courses. Mainly, this feedback is based on the final questionnaires that designers’ and MOOC instructors’ receive from their students, in combination with the learning analytics of the MOOC platform. There are efforts from many researchers, who try to point out the necessity of nourishing a quality assurance culture in MOOCs, taking into account that these courses are addressed to a vast community of learners and the quality in the design and pedagogy of MOOCs could be an important factor for the sustainability of enrolled students’ learning. However, it is not that clear how these efforts are being addressed and more importantly it is not clear up to which point they are appropriate to assess active learning pedagogies. For this reason, we planned to carry out an evaluative case study, to apply current quality assessment methods on a MOOC that the group had proposed last year, implementing active learning pedagogies. To that end, we carried out a systematic literature review in order to identify the existent MOOC quality assurance methods and select those that could be used in the case study. The research was focused on assessing whether these methods evaluate effectively the instructional design of a MOOC implementing active learning pedagogies while assessing meanwhile the quality of the MOOC itself. As the results suggest, the tools of the selected quality frameworks provide important and useful elements while assessing the instructional design of a MOOC. However, they need enrichment in active learning pedagogies elements, like collaborative learning and gamification. The evaluation also found further strengths and weaknesses that the quality frameworks present, hinting the path for future research lines.