A Systematic Review of Questionnaire-Based Quantitative Research on MOOCs

  • Mingxiao Lu Nankai University
  • Tianyi Cui Nankai University
  • Zhenyu Huang Central Michigan University
  • Hong Zhao Nankai University
  • Tao Li Nankai University
  • Kai Wang Nankai University
Keywords: MOOC, factors-goals graph (F-G graph), questionnaire-based survey, quantitative analysis, research topics


Massive open online courses (MOOCs) have attracted much interest from educational researchers and practitioners around the world. There has been an increase in empirical studies about MOOCs in recent years, most of which used questionnaire surveys and quantitative methods to collect and analyze data. This study explored the research topics and paradigms of questionnaire-based quantitative research on MOOCs by reviewing 126 articles available in the Science Citation Index (SCI) and Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI) databases from January 2015 to August 2020. This comprehensive overview showed that: (a) the top three MOOC research topics were the factors influencing learners’ performance, dropout rates and continuance intention to use MOOCs, and assessing MOOCs; (b) for these three topics, many studies designed questionnaires by adding new factors or adjustments to extant theoretical models or survey instruments; and (c) most researchers used descriptive statistics to analyze data, followed by the structural equation model, and reliability and validity analysis. This study elaborated on the relationship of research topics and key factors in the research models by building factors-goals (F-G) graphs. Finally, we proposed some directions and recommendations for future research on MOOCs.

Author Biographies

Mingxiao Lu, Nankai University

Mingxiao Lu is an experimentalist of College of Computer Science, Nankai University in China. She has more than 3 years of experience teaching students from multiple countries. She has been involved in the creation and maintenance of three MOOCs. She has published nine articles in International academic conferences. Her research interests include Computer Education, MOOC Research, and Data Analysis. E-mail: lumx@nankai.edu.cn

Tianyi Cui, Nankai University

Tianyi Cui is an undergraduate at Nankai University. Her research interests include financial management, securities markets and investing, and data modeling. E-mail: nku_cuitianyi@126.com

Zhenyu Huang, Central Michigan University

Zhenyu Huang is a professor of Information Systems at Central Michigan University in the College of Business Administration. His research interests include Business Intelligence, E-government, Knowledge Management, ERP, System Usability, Software Design, and Gaming for Learning. His research results have appeared in MIS journals such as the European Journal of Information Systems, Information and Management, Journal of Computer Information Systems, and Information Systems Management, and MIS conference proceedings. E-mail: Huang1z@cmich.edu

Hong Zhao, Nankai University

Hong Zhao is an associate professor of College of Computer Science, Nankai University in China. Her research interests include Big Data, Service Learning, Instructional Design, and MOOC. E-mail: zhaoh@nankai.edu.cn

Tao Li, Nankai University

Tao Li is a professor of College of Computer Science, Nankai University in China. His research interests include Heterogeneous Computing, Intelligent Internet of Things, Blockchain, and Instructional Design. E-mail: litao@nankai.edu.cn

Kai Wang, Nankai University

Kai Wang is an associate professor at Nankai University. His research interests include Computer Vision, Artificial Intelligence, Software Engineering, Data Modelling, Parallel Computing, Business Intelligence, Instructional Design, MOOC, and Case-based Learning. E-mail: wangk@nankai.edu.cn       


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How to Cite
Lu, M., Cui, T., Huang, Z., Zhao, H., Li, T., & Wang, K. (2021). A Systematic Review of Questionnaire-Based Quantitative Research on MOOCs. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 22(2), 285-313. https://doi.org/10.19173/irrodl.v22i2.5208
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