Fine-tuned BERT Model for Large Scale and Cognitive Classification of MOOCs

  • Hanane Sebbaq RIME Team, MASI Laboratory, E3S Research center Mohammadia School of Engineers, Mohammed V University, Rabat, Morocco
  • Nour-eddine El Faddouli RIME Team, MASI Laboratory, E3S Research center Mohammadia School of Engineers, Mohammed V University, Rabat, Morocco
Keywords: cognitive MOOC classification, BERT, LSTM, transfer learning


The quality assurance of MOOCs focuses on improving their pedagogical quality. However, the tools that allow reflection on and assistance regarding the pedagogical aspects of MOOCs are limited. The pedagogical classification of MOOCs is a difficult task, given the variability of MOOCs' content, structure, and designs. Pedagogical researchers have adopted several approaches to examine these variations and identify the pedagogical models of MOOCs, but these approaches are manual and operate on a small scale. Furthermore, MOOCs do not contain any metadata on their pedagogical aspects. Our objective in this research work was the automatic and large-scale classification of MOOCs based on their learning objectives and Bloom’s taxonomy. However, the main challenge of our work was the lack of annotated data. We created a dataset of 2,394 learning objectives. Due to the limited size of our dataset, we adopted transfer learning via bidirectional encoder representations from Transformers (BERT). The contributions of our approach are twofold. First, we automated the pedagogical annotation of MOOCs on a large scale and based on the cognitive levels of Bloom’s taxonomy. Second, we fine-tuned BERT via different architectures. In addition to applying a simple softmax classifier, we chose prevalent neural networks long short-term memory (LSTM) and Bi-directional long short-term memory (Bi-LSTM). The results of our experiments showed, on the one hand, that choosing a more complex classifier does not boost the performance of classification. On the other hand, using a model based on dense layers upon BERT in combination with dropout and the rectified linear unit (ReLU) activation function enabled us to reach the highest accuracy value.


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How to Cite
Sebbaq, H., & El Faddouli , N.- eddine. (2022). Fine-tuned BERT Model for Large Scale and Cognitive Classification of MOOCs. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 23(2), 170-190.
Research Articles