4.1 Goal Setting
In the first phase, the predecisional phase the goal is set. Figure 2 shows that most learners in the MOOC indicated that they set the goal to complete the MOOC (23%) and request the certificate (45%).
They also indicated that they were generally determined (68%) or very determined (22%) to reach this goal (see Fig. 2). Additionally, besides the content-oriented goals which were set, learners indicated alternative goals which were important for them. Seeking connection with other learners on the topic of climate change (39%) and finding collaboration possibilities with other organisations on climate change issues (36%) were mentioned most (see Fig. 3).
4.2 Goal Achievement
In the postactional phase an evaluation takes place of whether the goal striving actions were successful. At first, it was evaluated if the content-oriented goal, which was set in the predecisional phase, was achieved. Figure 4 shows that 23% of the learners completed the MOOC and that the majority of the learners merely participated in some (46%) or most learning activities (15%).
Yet, achievement reaches further than the mere quantitative measurement of the content-oriented goals. Therefore, it was additionally evaluated if the achieved outcome matched the expectation, which can be characterised as a form of subjective evaluation of achievement. The majority of the learners indicated that they achieved their personal goals to some extend (46%) or a great extend (15%), that their expectations were met to a great extend (46%) or completely (7%) and that they were satisfied (54%) or very satisfied (7%) with the course (see Fig. 5).
In-depth interviews were conducted to give additional insight into the courses of action these learners followed, how they progressed through the goal setting and goal striving process and how their subjective value judgements are substantiated.
4.3 Qualitative Results
The post-interviews were analysed using deductive thematic analysis  and were coded for themes derived from the theoretical framework of the Rubikon model of action phases .
The interviewees rated their English proficiency as good to very good and all of them had a master degree. In addition, each of them had previous experience with learning in MOOCs. All but one set the goal to complete the MOOC and all of them indicated that they were determined to very determined to reach their set goals. In addition to their set learning goals they also specified that they wanted to share knowledge with other interviewees, explore possibilities to connect to other people who are interested in climate change issues and explore possibilities to work with other organisations on climate change issues.
4.4 Predecisional Phase
In this phase, different options are deliberated and weighted and a specific goal is set [1, 7]. All five of the interviewees indicated that they were not specifically looking for a MOOC, but merely for information and learning possibilities regarding the topic of climate governance and polycentricity: “I stumbled across it when I was looking for information on polycentric governance” (P2) and “…In fact, I was not actively searching for a MOOC” (P5).
In addition, neither of them knew whether there were more MOOCs available on this specific topic. As soon as they came across this specific MOOC, they did not search any further for alternative learning options. Before making the decision to enroll, all of them evaluated the specified weekly workload of the MOOC, yet only one interviewee stated that the workload actually influenced his decision to sign up, as he wanted to make sure that he would able to follow the MOOC next to his normal daily workload. The other four interviewees did think about their available time for learning in the MOOC, but did not let this influence their decision: “I knew that I would not be able to complete it, because I was on field research that time, but I still enrolled to look at it” (P2) and “When I enrolled in the course I was not yet sure whether I would have time to participate in the MOOC” (P3).
All interviewees but one signed up for the MOOC immediately after they found the MOOC and read the available information. One interviewee first sent an email to the MOOC organisers to ask for any formal requirements and signed up after receiving an answer.
4.5 Preactional Phase
This phase is about planning concrete strategies for achieving the goal set in the predecisional phase [1, 7]. Three of the interviewees specifically spend time thinking about planning their learning and indicated that they would generally learn at home after work and during weekends. However, most of the interviewees did not think about issues that could hinder their learning and thus did not make alternative (shielding) plans in advance. Only one interviewee indicated that he specifically thought about issues in his personal environment that could hinder him successfully reach his set goal intention: “I figured that if I would not be able to study on a certain day, or would not have sufficient time, instead of working smarter or harder, I would just have to work longer” (P5).
Three of the interviewees were confident that they would reach their learning goals and two of them were not sure about it. One of the interviewees stated that a previous experience with a MOOC made her uncertain: “I had done another MOOC in the spring, one that even cost money, but I could not motivate myself to finish. So, I was unsure if I would be able to hold on [in this MOOC]” (P4).
The opinions of the interviewees are divided regarding their own responsibility for reaching their goal intentions. Some of them are very determined that it is totally up to the learner, some are not sure and one of them feels that it also depends on the course design and the feedback of the instructors.
4.6 Actional Phase
This phase is about enacting the strategies which were planned in the preactional phase in pursuit of goal achievement [1, 7]. Two interviewees indicated that they learned according to their plan. Another two interviewees were not able to study as planned due to circumstances and one interviewee stated that she kind of learned as planned: “as I did not have a real plan, but I did have time… to look into it once in a while” (P2).
While acting in this phase in pursuit of their set goals, two of the interviewees deliberately changed their set goal intention because their interest changed and they did not like the method of learning (online as opposed to face-to-face) which made them lose motivation and ultimately quit the MOOC after several weeks. Yet, one of the interviewees specifically indicated that: “the quality (content) and quantity (workload) were not the reasons why I dropped out” (P3).
4.7 Postactional Phase
In this final phase, the achievement of the individual goal intentions is evaluated [1, 7]. None of the interviewees consciously took the time to evaluate their achievement. Yet, when specifically asked about it, four interviewees stated that they did not reach their initially set goals, yet at the same time all five of the interviewees were mostly satisfied with the knowledge they gained: “Even if I didn’t reach the goal completely, there was a lot of learning involved” (P1). One of the interviewees added that although she gained the knowledge she aimed for, she was not happy with the amount of time she had to spend on it: “but [I] do not feel satisfied with the knowledge I gained versus the time I invested” (P4).
Further evaluation whether the achieved outcome was in line with the expected value was also very positive. One source of some dissatisfaction was the lack of interaction in the course” “the instructors had little participation. At some point, it seemed like the course was “abandoned” (P1) and “too little discussion took place in the discussion forum. … I had hoped to learn much more from others’ experiences and thoughts on the course” (P5). Overall, all interviewees indicated that the MOOC met their expectations. Most important aspects for this value judgement were content, theoretical deepening, usefulness for practice and flexibility of the MOOC.