How to select a MOOC platform?

By July 16, 2016English

The state of the art review of MOOCs and their platforms, conducted by the partners of the ECO project, revealed the need for analysing this complex emerging field of online learning by means of a systematic procedure and suitable tools. With this purpose in mind the ECO project developed a checklist designed to capture the features, benefits and any possible deficiencies of MOOCs as well as to compare platforms and ease assessment of their educational scope and impact.

This checklist provides a set of standard questions to evaluate MOOC platforms and services along dimensions that are relevant from mainly from pedagogical aspects without forgetting technological aspects. The checklist is arranged in ten categories.

  1. Introduction to evaluation
  2. General information
  3. Economic structural factors
  4. Technology
  5. Accessibility
  6. Communication and interaction
  7. Goals, content and resources
  8. Assignments
  9. Assessments
  10. Pedagogical principles

This checklist has been used to evaluate both the MOOC platforms that are being used in the ECO project, OpenMOOC, WeMOOC, ARLearn, iMOOC, Open Edx Politecnico, as well as several other MOOC platforms (Coursera, Udacity, MiríadaX, OpenCourseWare-MIT, Futurelearn, Iversity) that are commonly used.

The results of the checklist have been verified by actually logging in to the ECO MOOC platforms and creating a MOOC to ascertain whether the features that are present can support the ECO pedagogical model of networked learning.

It turned out almost none of the MOOC platforms can accommodate networked learning, although the selected ECO MOOC platforms fit the pedagogical model better than the other MOOC platforms. Most platforms very much adhere to the knowledge transfer model and lack the features to actively engage the learners in social interaction, learning by doing, in situated activities in authentic contexts.

Detailed information about the checklist and results of the evaluation can be found in ‘D 2.1 Analysis of existing MOOC platforms and services’ that is available from the ECO project website or from the DSpace repository of the Open Universiteit.

Author Francis Brouns

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