Study Finds Tactics to Help Close Global MOOC Achievement Gap

CLOSING THE MOOC GAP: Advocates of massive open online courses (MOOCs) have touted their potential to make education more affordable and accessible to learners around the globe. However, a recent report suggests otherwise, and that the “benefits of MOOCs are not spread equitably across global regions,” MIT News reports. One main culprit: “social identity threat,” or feeling unwelcomed or stereotyped as less intellectually capable because of one’s group.

But researchers say there are ways to turn this problem around. In particular, the study found several strategies to help improve the MOOC experience. For some participants from less-developed countries, learners engaged with twice the amount of course material after they were assigned one of three interventions tactics:

  1. Value Relevance: students share how the course reflects their own values.
  2. Social Belonging: learners review—and write their own—student testimonials.
  3. Control: students research and write about study skills
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