MOOCs Observatory – Research


Marc Clarà and Elena Barberà

Learning online: massive open online courses (MOOCs),
connectivism, and cultural psychology

Developmental and Educational Psychology, University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain;
eLearn Center, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain

In this reflection, we discuss the connectivist conception of learning in Web 2.0 environments, which underpins the pedagogy of what are known as cMOOCs (connectivist massive open online courses). We argue that this conception of learning is inadequate and problematic, and we propose that cultural psychology is best suited to address the explanatory challenges that Web 2.0 poses on learning, and therefore, it is also best suited to provide massive open online courses with more adequate and less problematic pedagogy. We suggest two initial and general pedagogical principles based on cultural psychology upon which to begin building this new pedagogy for massive open online courses.

Keywords: Web 2.0; e-learning; distance education.


MOOC Design Principles. A Pedagogical Approach from the Learner’s Perspective

Author(s): Lourdes Guàrdia, Marcelo Maina, Albert Sangrà

The debate around Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) is much more focused on the social, institutional, technological and economical aspects than on the need for development of new pedagogical approaches that provide consistent guidance on how to design for this emergent educational scenario.

A new understanding of knowledge production and learning challenges the core of learning design, demanding innovative and appropriate approaches to teaching and learning. We present a set of learning design principles drawn from the learner’s perspective. They focus on empowering learners in networked environments for fostering critical thinking and collaboration, developing competence based outcomes, encouraging peer assistance and assessment through social appraisal, providing strategies and tools for self-regulation, and finally using a variety of media and ICTs to create and publish learning resources and outputs.

Keywords: MOOCs, Learning Design, teaching and learning models, online courses, empowerment


Educational research from MIT and Harvard aims to investigate “Circuits and Electronics” (6.002x), the first offering of edX, the MIT/Harvard collaboration for online learning.

Dr. Lori Breslow, MIT Teaching and Learning Laboratory, Professor David Pritchard, MIT Department of Physics and RELATE; and Professor Andrew Ho, HGSE

Understanding the edX MOOC: How can “Circuits and Electronics” (6.002x) help us understand the MOOC learning experience?

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