Wednesday, May 2, 2012

MOOC Week 1: Motivation and Retention Online

This week is devoted to keeping learners motivated in online courses. The main reading for this week focused on things online instructors can do to foster motivation. The assigned article,  Well Leave the Light on for YouKeeping Learners Motivated in Online Courses,”  is from a book called Flexible Learning in an Information Society. As the authors point out, even when tools are available for engaging and motivating students, instructors lack the training and knowledge on how to effectively use them. Highlighted are ideas and examples for motivating online learners from setting the tone of the class, providing feedback, engaging learners, providing meaningful real-world scenarios, helping students make a personal investment in the course, sparking learner curiosity, etc. 

Bonk also introduces the TEC-VARIETY model that he developed along with Dr. Elizabeth Khoee. Each letter of the TEC-VARIETY model stands for one or more motivational principles. For those 2500+ of us enrolled in the MOOC, two chapters form Bonk’s upcoming book, Adding Some TEC‐VARIETY: 100+ Activities for Motivating and Retaining Learners Online have been made available. The principles of Tone and Encouragement were explored as well as specific activities for motivating and retaining online learners using these principles.

(1) Tone or climate,
(2) Encouragement or feedback,
(3) Curiosity,
(4) Variety,
(5) Autonomy or choice,
(6) Relevance and meaningfulness,
(7) Interactivity and collaboration,
(8) Engagement,
(9) Tension, and
(10) Yielding products and goal setting.

As for the MOOC itself, taking a “class” with 2500+ is overwhelming. The sheer number of discussions taking place makes it impossible to keep up. The good news is that groups have been created and people are seeking out those who have common interests so I have decided to concentrate on group discussions and only skim the new postings in the class discussion.

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