A Systematic Analysis and Synthesis of the Empirical MOOC Literature Published in 2013–2015
A deluge of empirical research became available on MOOCs in 2013–2015 and this research is available in disparate sources. This paper addresses a number of gaps in the scholarly understanding of MOOCs and presents a comprehensive picture of the literature by examining the geographic distribution, publication outlets, citations, data collection and analysis methods, and research strands of empirical research focusing on MOOCs during this time period. Results demonstrate that (a) more than 80% of this literature is published by individuals whose home institutions are in North America and Europe, (b) a select few papers are widely cited while nearly half of the papers are cited zero times, and (c) researchers have favored a quantitative if not positivist approach to the conduct of MOOC research, preferring the collection of data via surveys and automated methods. While some interpretive research was conducted on MOOCs in this time period, it was often basic and it was the minority of studies that were informed by methods traditionally associated with qualitative research (e.g., interviews, observations, and focus groups). Analysis shows that there is limited research reported on instructor-related topics, and that even though researchers have attempted to identify and classify learners into various groupings, very little research examines the experiences of learner subpopulations.
Copyright (c) 2016 George Veletsianos, Peter Shepherdson
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence. The copyright of all content published in IRRODL is retained by the authors.
This copyright agreement and use license ensures, among other things, that an article will be as widely distributed as possible and that the article can be included in any scientific and/or scholarly archive.
You are free to
- Share — copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format
- Adapt — remix, transform, and build upon the material for any purpose, even commercially.
The licensor cannot revoke these freedoms as long as you follow the license terms below:
- Attribution — You must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use.
- No additional restrictions — You may not apply legal terms or technological measures that legally restrict others from doing anything the license permits.