Skip to main content


How does learner behavior change across an entire MOOC program? That’s the question asked by researchers who examined learning analytics to understand the engagement levels of 175 employees participating in a four-MOOC professional development program. Their results, reported in the April 2021 issue of Computers in Human Behavior, suggested that there was a significant association between the use of three different program-level learning strategies and the learner’s performance in the course. Unsurprisingly, learners who were classified as using the “Consistent” strategy were most successful; “Disorganized” students were least successful; and in the middle were my favorite, “Get-it-done” learners. This “Get-it-done” strategy was the most popular across the group; these learners showed a high level of initial engagement that quickly waned and an early focus on completing assessments. Why? Researchers explained that most learners “want to achieve the maximum learning outcome through minimal effort” and thus adopt a “goal-oriented learning approach” (Barthakur et al., 2021). In addition, researchers found that “Disorganized” learners try to make up for lack of activity at the start of each course – suggesting poor self-regulation skills, rather than a lack of interest or motivation. Researchers recommend that these learners are identified early using analytics and that program managers design instructional interventions to help these learners have better self-regulation and manage their time more effectively. Taking this one step further: what if your LMS (like the Intellum Platform) could signal when learners are engaging in “Disorganized” behaviors, thus triggering a series of instructional messages encouraging them to adopt self-regulation strategies? Something to consider...

Key Takeaway

Learning analytics, including trace data (like the number of times a certain type of content was accessed), can help us classify learners using engagement patterns; these patterns can inform the way we design meaningful, targeted interventions to enhance learning.

Read More (Paywall)

Barthakur, A., Kovanovic, V., Jocsimovic, S., Siemens, G., Richey, M., & Dawson, S. (2021). Assessing program-level learning strategies in MOOCs. Computers in Human Behavior, 117.

A Tip for Researchers!

Frustrated by the paywall? We get it. Potential solutions: Ask your local public librarian for access to these journals, or request the articles through your local library’s InterLibrary Loan service, “which is essential for the democratization of research” (see: InterLibrary Loan will change your life).

Subscribe to Learning Science Weekly

This article review and summary was included in Learning Science Weekly, a weekly newsletter published by the researchers in Intellum's Learning Science department. If you'd like more recommendations on how you can apply findings from the learning sciences into your practice, subscribe today!

Did this article help?

Let us know by leaving a star rating or review at the top of this article.