Exploring the Problems Experienced by Learners in a MOOC Implementing Active Learning Pedagogies

  • Paraskevi TopaliEmail author
  • Alejandro Ortega-Arranz
  • Erkan Er
  • Alejandra Martínez-Monés
  • Sara L. Villagrá-Sobrino
  • Yannis Dimitriadis
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 11475)


Although Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have been reported as an effective educational tool offering numerous opportunities in online learning, the high dropout rates and the lack of learners’ motivation are factors concerning researchers and instructors. The one-size-fits-all instructional approach that most courses follow, failing to address the individual needs of learners, has been seen as their weakest point. Recent efforts focus on the inclusion of active learning pedagogies in MOOCs to stimulate the interaction among the participants and to keep them engaged. However, taking into account that in these massive contexts the learners face several issues while trying to keep up with the course, the incorporation of active learning strategies may introduce additional problems to the learning process. This study explores the problems that learners experienced in a MOOC implementing collaboration and gamification strategies. As the results reveal, the introduction of collaborative learning activities can generate additional problems to learners and for that reason, a careful design and a proper scaffolding is needed in an early stage to overcome the problems that will occur. No significant problems were reported regarding the implementation of gamification elements.


MOOC Learners’ problems Active learning Gamification Collaboration 



This research has been partially funded by the European Regional Development Fund and the National Research Agency of the Spanish Ministry of Science, Innovations and Universities under project grants TIN2017-85179-C3-2-R and TIN2014-53199-C3-2R, by the European Regional Development Fund and the Regional Ministry of Education of Castile and Leon under project grant VA257P18, and by the European Commission under project grant 588438-EPP-1-2017-1-EL-EPPKA2-KA. The authors thank the rest of the GSIC-EMIC and Canvas Network team for their support. Special thanks to Juan I. Asensio-Pérez (Universidad de Valladolid) for his valuable ideas and his constant guidance conducting this research.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paraskevi Topali
    • 1
    Email author
  • Alejandro Ortega-Arranz
    • 1
  • Erkan Er
    • 1
  • Alejandra Martínez-Monés
    • 1
  • Sara L. Villagrá-Sobrino
    • 1
  • Yannis Dimitriadis
    • 1
  1. 1.GSIC-EMIC Research GroupUniversidad de ValladolidValladolidSpain

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