SRL MOOC Study Update and Background


Many of you will remember that the Caledonian Academy planned to conduct some research on the Change11 MOOC which ran some months ago.  There is some background to the study here. It’s taken a while (there have been other priorities like our Mock REF and various papers) but we’re now making good progress with the data analysis. We always said we would be open with the results we produced and in preparation for a series of blog posts to be posted over the next few weeks, I thought I would put up a quick post today describing some of the details of the study.

The study (given Ethical approval by an internal GCU Research Ethics Committee) comprised two components. First, participants were asked to complete a survey which asked them to respond to a number of statements regarding how they learn and plan their learning. Second, participants were invited to take part in a semi-structured interview exploring their participation in the Change11 mooc and their learning practices within it.

  • A version of the SRL survey instrument is available on dropbox: here.
  • The interview script for the semi-structured interview is available on dropbox: here.

We managed to recruit 35 participants for the study, and conducted interviews with 27 of these. The sample seems robust – with representation from many countries, different education sectors (and beyond) and different motivation for participation. We have 26 hours of interviews (394 pages of text)

Posts over the coming weeks will concentrate on: the srl profiles, emerging themes from the interviews, what these results tell us about moocs, what we can say about srl within moocs and many more things. Please get in touch if you want to know anything about the study or its findings and I will try to include it in a forthcoming blog post. Of course we also plan to publish the studues once we have done more extensive analysis.

Research Study: Self-regulated learning in massive open online courses

Massive Open Online Courses are still very new and it is important to conduct research to try to understand how they support different types of learning. At the Caledonian Academy, we are interested in Self-regulated learning outside formal learning contexts and we have designed a study, which aims to surface, describe and systematise the activities and strategies that adult learners use to self-regulate their learning in the context of the Change 2011 massive open online course (MOOC). Our interest is specifically in professionals’ actions – practices and strategies that they use to plan and attain their learning goals.

We are looking for volunteers to participate in this study. Anyone who has signed up for the Change11 MOOC is welcome to participate. Participation in the study will involve completion of an online questionnaire (in January/February 2012) and participation in a telephone or Skype interview (in or around March 2012).

Data collected will be accessible only by the research team at Glasgow Caledonian University (Professor Allison Littlejohn, Dr Anoush Margaryan and Dr Colin Milligan). All data will be anonymised prior to publication and participants will not be identified (or identifiable). Participants are free to withdraw from the study at any time.

If you would like to participate in the study, please enter your name and email on the page linked here: Alternatively, email me at, or tweet me @cdmilligan We will contact you in the new year with details about how to participate.

Further information on the research design: The study will examine how learners in Change 2011 MOOC plan, implement and reflect upon their learning goals, analysing similarities and differences in the use of SRL strategies between learners who are positioned on different points on the spectrum of SRL skills.  In identifying the SRL activities and strategies used by the participants, we are specifically interested in finding out how individuals draw upon available resources, such as other people and artefacts, to plan and attain their learning goals, and what tools do they use to do so. The study is guided by the following key research questions:

  1. How do participants plan, implement and reflect upon their learning goals within Change MOOC?What strategies do they use to self-regulate their learning?What tools do they use to self-regulate their learning?
  2. How do participants draw upon collective knowledge – people and other environmental resources – when planning, implementing and reflecting upon their learning goals within Change MOOC?
  3. What are the environmental factors, in particular those related to the coherence of the information space and structure of the MOOC, that constrain or enable SRL?
  4. What are the similarities and differences in the use of SRL strategies between learners who have diverse self-regulatory profiles? For example, do learners who score higher on self-regulatory skill measures use significantly different goal planning, implementation and reflection strategies than participants who score lower on the SRL measures?

Please sign up to participate in the study (here is the link again: If you have comments or questions about the study, please email me at or leave a comment below.