Determining Factors in MOOCs Completion Rates: Application Test in Energy Sustainability Courses

Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs) are open educational activities that allow for distance learning and professional updating, although the academic community has questioned their effectiveness due to their low completion rates. This research analyzes which factors (personal, family, social, labor, and instructional design) are involved in the value expectations and engagement of the MOOCs and to what degree these affect the decision to enroll and the completion of the MOOC. To this end, in the context of 12 MOOCs on energy sustainability carried out between 2017 and 2018, 8737 participants were surveyed using two instruments designed according to theoretical constructs and expert judgment. The main results show that all the factors reviewed influence the decision to take a MOOC, although the “professional development” aspect has the most significant impact on participants who have graduated from technical and engineering careers. Additionally, this study emphasizes that the “instructional design” factor is decisive in the engagement of younger participants, showing that the conventional design of xMOOCs (Stanford Model) may be one of the most important reasons for the low completion rates of this type of course.

Incidence of Digital Competences in the Completion Rates of MOOCs: Case Study on Energy Sustainability Courses

Contribution: This article analyzes the correlation between users' digital competencies and their tendencies to successfully complete energy sustainability massive online open courses (MOOCs). In addition to reviewing whether digital competencies are a predictor of the effective completion of the course, this article analyzes whether participants acquire higher levels of digital competence through interaction in the course. Background: Completion rates of MOOCs typically range between 5% and 8%, with respect to registered participants. According to the literature, low rates may be due to factors such as students' lack of motivation or digital competence limitations. Research Questions: RQ1: Is there a correlation between the level of digital competence declared by the participants and their tendency to successfully complete the MOOC? RQ2: Does participation in a MOOC improve participants' digital competencies? Methodology: Two surveys, one pretest and one post-test (before and after the MOOCs), were applied to assess the digital competence levels of the participants. The total population of participants in the 12 MOOCs was 123 124 unique users, from which 9075 participants (pretest) - 7.37% of the universe - and 6029 participants (post-test) - 35.70% of the universe - were extracted as a sample. To determine its internal consistency, an exploratory factorial analysis was performed on both instruments and a Cronbach's alpha greater than 0.8 was obtained in all of its dimensions. Findings: A significant level of moderate to high correlation between the declared levels of digital competence and the trend toward successful completion of the MOOCs under study was observed. However, a significant increase was not demonstrated in the levels of digital competence acquired in the interaction with MOOCs. Conclusions: The level of digital competence of a participant in a MOOC was a valid predictor of their tendency to finish it. Although no increase in the levels of digital competence acquired through MOOCs was demonstrated, this may be because the subject matter of the MOOCs was alien to the indicators and dimensions of the digital competence. Further research could analyze the effectiveness of MOOCs in terms of digital competition at the acquired levels of competition.

Entrepreneurship competencies in energy sustainability MOOCs

Massive open online courses (MOOCs) have been gaining popularity as non-formal lifelong learning educational platforms. However, they have been criticized for their low completion rate and low ability for networking. The purpose of this paper is to analyze how incorporating entrepreneurial competencies in MOOCs develops attributes of educational innovation and collaborative projects. The research followed a three-stage process: in the first stage, a comprehensive literature review was conducted to identify dimensions of entrepreneurial skills and attributes of educational innovation in MOOCs. In the second stage, a quantitative study was carried out based on the analysis of pre- and post-test surveys taken by a sample of 6,517 participants. In the last stage, the interaction analysis model/computer-mediated communication analysis model was applied through qualitative analysis, using the MAXQDA tool to identify if entrepreneurship opportunities were generated in the interactions within the discussion forums of the MOOCs.The results show that the analyzed MOOCs have an overall completion rate of 12.55%, above the average of the rates found in the literature review. However, only 14.29% of the participants expressed at least one opportunity to generate ventures related to the topics of energy in the discussion forums. This research could help instructional designers and universities to consider the inclusion of entrepreneurship issues in the design of MOOCs’ content and to encourage more activities that promote networking among participants to identify business potential from the educational materials. This research is one of the very few studies on entrepreneurship competencies in MOOCs to understand how the inclusion of issues related to entrepreneurship in MOOCs can generate a positive impact on participants.

Gamification in MOOCs: Engagement Application Test in Energy Sustainability Courses

Massive open online courses (MOOCs) have triggered a sudden change in the educational scene. Its characteristics of being free, heterogeneous, multi-thematic, and fostering lifelong learning have completely changed the instructional design scene, allowing these innovations and new architectures of teaching and learning to be included. However, MOOCs have been criticized by the scientific community for their high dropout rates and low overall completion rates, which has called into question their effectiveness as a pedagogical tool. This paper analyzes how the application of gamification strategies in MOOCs on energy sustainability affects participants' engagement and seeks to identify what types of interactive gamification media are more useful in generating interest and motivation in students. In order to do so, a mixed quasi-experimental method is used. A gamification board with challenges, badges, and leaderboards to a sample is used, and at the same time, this platform is analyzed using the integrated theoretical gamification model in e-learning environments. In the MOOCs where gamification strategies were applied, a global completion rate of 14.43% was obtained, while in those without gamification, 6.162% was obtained. Likewise, the degree of student engagement with respect to the completion rate of activities was much higher in the gamified platform (28.032%) than in the traditional design (13.252%). The results show that applying gamification strategies in MOOCs achieves a higher level of engagement and student motivation.