Supporting learners' self-regulated learning in Massive Open Online Courses

Renée S. Jansen, Anouschka van Leeuwen, Jeroen Janssen, Rianne Conijn, Liesbeth Kester

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


In MOOCs, learners are typically presented with great autonomy over their learning process. Therefore, learners should engage in self-regulated learning (SRL) in order to successfully study in a MOOC. Learners however often struggle to self-regulate their learning. We implemented an SRL intervention in three MOOCs. The intervention consisted of three short videos containing SRL instruction and study suggestions to improve learners' SRL. We tested the effects of the SRL intervention on both learners' course completion as well as on learners' SRL. Learners' SRL was measured with trace data variables indicating SRL activity. The results showed that the intervention positively affected learners' course completion. Furthermore, the learners who complied with the intervention also engaged in more SRL activities compared to the learners in the control condition: learners who complied showed more metacognitive activities before learning (planning), help seeking, and persistence. Intervention compliance was however low. Further analyses exploring potential causes of the low intervention compliance were conducted. The great majority of learners who did not comply with the intervention dropped out of the MOOC before they encountered the implemented intervention. We conclude that the SRL intervention has been successful in supporting both learners' SRL as well as their course completion. Implications include the importance of supporting learners' SRL as well as the necessity to conduct further research on how to improve intervention compliance.
Original languageEnglish
Article number103771
Number of pages17
JournalComputers & Education
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Intervention
  • MOOC
  • Online learning
  • Self-regulated learning
  • Trace data


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