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Investigating self-regulation in the context of a blended learning computing course

Investigating self-regulation in the context of a blended learning computing course Massive open online courses (MOOCs) provide an innovative educational technology, which has become widely used for distance learning by independent learners. However, there has been little work so far to study the effects of using MOOCs as part of a blended classroom approach in which learning activities take place both online and in a traditional classroom setting. The purpose of this study is to investigate the aspects of blended MOOC usage in the context of a computing course for first-year undergraduates at a UK university.Design/methodology/approachThe MOOC was implemented on a purpose-built platform that supports learners to make informed choices about their learning path. This research investigates students’ capacity for self-regulated learning (SRL) and understands their preparedness for independent study, profile the general areas of SRL strength and weakness, which may affect their ability to learn effectively in a self-directed environment. An existing survey instrument, based on a six-dimensional conceptualization of SRL was adapted to investigate the self-regulation in the MOOC study.FindingsThe results demonstrate that the dimensions of self-evaluation and time management represent particular areas of weakness for these students. Furthermore, profiles of SRL for individual students show considerable differences in capability within the study. However, the deficiencies in SRL dimensions contrast with the students’ of generally high levels of attainment. This leads us to question the validity of the existing SRL. Furthermore, a high level of social interaction and help-seeking was reported in relation to the MOOC study indicating the increasing importance of social learning and the importance of co-regulation for SRL.Research limitations/implicationsAlthough this study presents findings from a small data sample, it points to a number of areas for future implementation and exploration. Firstly, in line with the action research approach, students’ SRL could, in the future, be tested early in the course with the MOOC component being ideally placed to provide personalised support for each student in aspects which they may benefit from developing further. Secondly, for students in the cohort studied in this paper, a longitudinal study will track how their SRL develops as they progress through the degree. We feel that it is important to gain further qualitative data to understand how students work in practice and the strategies they adopt when confronted with different modes of learning. Finally, it is necessary to consider the conceptualisation of SRL to understand if existing instruments could be adapted to provide a more accurate assessment of the effectiveness of learners’ self-regulation.Originality/valueThere has been little research on the effects of using a MOOC as the online component of a blended classroom learning approach. This study has used a theoretical perspective of SRL to investigate the approaches to self-regulation adopted by undergraduate computer science students studying in a blended MOOC environment. The MOOC used for this purpose was developed on the innovative eLDa platform, allowing students to determine, track and visualise their individual path through topics and materials offered in the MOOC. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The International Journal of Information and Learning Technology Emerald Publishing

Investigating self-regulation in the context of a blended learning computing course

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
© Emerald Publishing Limited
ISSN
2056-4880
DOI
10.1108/ijilt-04-2021-0059
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Massive open online courses (MOOCs) provide an innovative educational technology, which has become widely used for distance learning by independent learners. However, there has been little work so far to study the effects of using MOOCs as part of a blended classroom approach in which learning activities take place both online and in a traditional classroom setting. The purpose of this study is to investigate the aspects of blended MOOC usage in the context of a computing course for first-year undergraduates at a UK university.Design/methodology/approachThe MOOC was implemented on a purpose-built platform that supports learners to make informed choices about their learning path. This research investigates students’ capacity for self-regulated learning (SRL) and understands their preparedness for independent study, profile the general areas of SRL strength and weakness, which may affect their ability to learn effectively in a self-directed environment. An existing survey instrument, based on a six-dimensional conceptualization of SRL was adapted to investigate the self-regulation in the MOOC study.FindingsThe results demonstrate that the dimensions of self-evaluation and time management represent particular areas of weakness for these students. Furthermore, profiles of SRL for individual students show considerable differences in capability within the study. However, the deficiencies in SRL dimensions contrast with the students’ of generally high levels of attainment. This leads us to question the validity of the existing SRL. Furthermore, a high level of social interaction and help-seeking was reported in relation to the MOOC study indicating the increasing importance of social learning and the importance of co-regulation for SRL.Research limitations/implicationsAlthough this study presents findings from a small data sample, it points to a number of areas for future implementation and exploration. Firstly, in line with the action research approach, students’ SRL could, in the future, be tested early in the course with the MOOC component being ideally placed to provide personalised support for each student in aspects which they may benefit from developing further. Secondly, for students in the cohort studied in this paper, a longitudinal study will track how their SRL develops as they progress through the degree. We feel that it is important to gain further qualitative data to understand how students work in practice and the strategies they adopt when confronted with different modes of learning. Finally, it is necessary to consider the conceptualisation of SRL to understand if existing instruments could be adapted to provide a more accurate assessment of the effectiveness of learners’ self-regulation.Originality/valueThere has been little research on the effects of using a MOOC as the online component of a blended classroom learning approach. This study has used a theoretical perspective of SRL to investigate the approaches to self-regulation adopted by undergraduate computer science students studying in a blended MOOC environment. The MOOC used for this purpose was developed on the innovative eLDa platform, allowing students to determine, track and visualise their individual path through topics and materials offered in the MOOC.

Journal

The International Journal of Information and Learning TechnologyEmerald Publishing

Published: Feb 1, 2022

Keywords: Self-regulated learning; Blended classroom learning; Motivation; MOOC; e-learning development and adaptivity (eLDa)

References