Massive open online courses: are social learners more likely to complete the course?

Veena Rodrigues (Lead Author), Emily Player

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


Background: The FutureLearn ‘Clinical Supervision with Confidence’ massive open online course (MOOC) was launched in March 2015.1 Course participants report having enjoyed interactions, sharing of narratives, etc often as much as the course materials themselves. We explored the association between social learning and course completion among MOOC participants over 2015-16. Summary of Work: Data were obtained from FutureLearn learner surveys, course measures and learner perceptions of course content, delivery and experiences, from discussion boards. ‘Social learners’ are those who post ≥ one comment on any course step and ‘fully participating learners’ are those who completed ≥ 50% of course steps and attempted assessments. Summary of Results: Of 11,929 registrants, 5,426 started the course. Of these, 35.4% were social learners and 34.1% completed the course. Over the seven course runs, completion rates mirrored social learner rates. Learners suggested that the high quality interprofessional discussions made the learning environment more engaging, and a good source of relevant resources. Discussion: The notion of social learning potentially leading to high MOOC completion rates is supported by educational theories proposed by Bandura (1977), Lave&Wenger (1990) and Vygotsky (1978). These ‘communities of practice’ share a common interest in developing/extending their supervision skills and learning from more experienced supervisors when faced with challenging situations.Conclusions: In conclusion, social learning appears to be associated with completion rates over all 7 runs of our MOOC. Further analysis is needed to test this hypothesis at the individual level, and to assess how learners use the new knowledge and skills in their workplace settings. Take-home Messages: Social learning added a new dimension and provided the interaction possible in face to face courses whilst being delivered in an online environment, potentially leading to higher course completion rates. Course participants enjoy the inter-professional discussions, sharing of narratives, etc often as much as the course materials themselves.References: 1. Rodrigues V (2015) Clinical Supervision with Confidence. Available at: (accessed on 9th Jan 2017). 2. Bandura A (1977) Social learning theory. New Jersey: Prentice Hall. 3. Lave J & Wenger E (1990) Situated Learning: Legitimate Peripheral Participation. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. 4. Vygotsky LS (1978) Mind in Society. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Original languageEnglish
Pages#7P4 (326)
Publication statusPublished - 2017
EventAMEE annual international conference - Helsinki, Finland
Duration: 27 Aug 201730 Aug 2017


ConferenceAMEE annual international conference

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