MOOCs for improved online learning
The Institute for Distance Learning and eLearning Research (IFeL) investigates the use of modern technologies in teaching and learning practice and disseminates the findings. Since autumn 2021, this has been done with the help of so-called MOOCs, online courses that are made available to a large audience free of charge. Two MOOCs will be launched this October.
At IFeL, research interests focus on the learning person as well as on teachers and their needs. Among other things, the researchers are working on the development of adaptive learning environments, and since 2017 IFeL has held a UNESCO Chair in this research area. As the name suggests, these learning environments adapt to the level of knowledge or other characteristics of a learner and provide feedback «tailored» to their learning behaviour. This is determined on the basis of analyses of learning-relevant variables such as prior knowledge, attention, learning activity and so on.
First MOOC «The Basics of Adaptive Learning»
At the end of October 2021, IFeL launched the first Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on the basics of adaptive learning. The five-week course was aimed at teachers, learning designers, project managers and researchers and started with around 100 participants, 31 of whom successfully completed the course and received a certificate of completion. The MOOC explained the mechanisms and components of adaptive learning systems as well as the didactic aspects of adaptive instructional design. Data-related topics such as learning analytics and learning measurement were also part of the course.
«For both the learners and the course team, the MOOC was an enlightening experience,» says Tansu Pancar, research assistant and course developer at IFeL. «There was a lot of constructive feedback and suggestions from participants to improve the course and provide a better learning experience for future participants.» This feedback now forms the basis on which the MOOC will be updated and relaunched from 24 October 2022.
New MOOC «Learning Analytics for Teachers»
Learning Analytics can provide teachers additional insights into their students' ways of learning (e.g., strengths or weaknesses). Existing systems showed that when teachers transform these insights into actions, it can improve student outcomes or their learning experience. Some teachers are aware of Learning Analytics, but they often do not know how to transform this information into actions and how this can contribute to students’ outcomes and their professional development. This gap limits the current usage of these systems. And that's why we designed this MOOC!