Innovations in Online Learning

Recent years have seen an immense growth in the popularity of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and other forms of online learning. These online courses offered on platforms such as iversity, Coursera or Udacity attract tens of thousands of students from around the world, providing virtually free education for anyone with an Internet connection. Yet there are important challenges surrounding low completion rates, questionable learning outcomes and hefty course production costs. In our research, we look at how digital technologies can be leveraged to drive innovation in online education. Our focus covers MOOCs and other, non-course-based forms of online learning.

Using gamification to boost engagement in online courses

Online learning platforms are looking for new ways to boost the level of engagement of their students and to help them better achieve their personal learning goals. Gamification, or the use of game elements in non-game contexts, is a popular new approach to enhance digital learning experiences. The goal of our project «Fostering Engagement with Gamification: Review of Current Practices on Online Learning Platforms» was to better understand the phenomenon of gamified online learning. We provide a survey of how experts are thinking about the design and implementation of gamification in online learning environments.

Access the full research paper «Fostering Engagement with Gamification: Review of Current Practices on Online Learning Platforms» here.

Presentation of our «Guiding Principles», a screenshot collection of compelling practice cases, 26 November, 2015

The role of video for online learning

While video is the main form of content delivery in MOOCs today, there seems to be great deal of insecurity around its appropriate use and production. Our research project TopMOOC critically investigated video’s role in online learning contexts. Through interviews with a number of experts at leading MOOC platforms and people in charge of video production at partnering universities, we examined the different ways in which video is being employed as an instructional tool for online learning. Further questions guiding our research included the benefits and limitations of standardizing the video production process and how to cut the cost of video production without sacrificing learning success. Based on our findings, we developed a set of recommendations on the appropriate use of video, the affordances of the medium, and the benefits of a lightweight approach to production.

Access the full research paper “The Role of Video in Online Learning: Findings From the Field and Critical Reflections” here.

Presentation of our preliminary research results, 4 December, 2014