E. Barberà Gregori1, C. Galvan Fernandez2, J. Zhang3, F. Fernández-Navarro4

1Universtitat Oberta de Catalunya (SPAIN)
2University of Barcelona (SPAIN)
3University of Beijing (CHINA)
4Universidad de Loyola (SPAIN)
Learning quality and learner retention should be among the most important challenges of MOOCs. In these courses learner support is key and it can be derived from resources interaction, peer interaction and tutor and institution support. As MOOCs are characterized by their large enrollment and low completion rates, it is prudent to examine aspects of learner support that have proven successful at enhancing learning outcomes and retention also in other forms of online learning. There are many classifications for the different types of MOOCs, which consider factors such as number of participants, schedulism, resources (learning objects) and collaborative learning. These categories can be complementary, but even then the information about learning support among the types of MOOCs is insufficient. To study the effectiveness of different types of learning support in MOOCs we propose three kinds of massive courses: formal MOOCs, conventional MOOCs and professional MOOCs. This category is a combination of the categories more common as miniMOOCs, cMOOCs and others. The present study analyzes five complete MOOCs with regard to different knowledge areas (social sciences, mathematics and technology), encompassing a total of 24.789 participants who generated 4.329.592 units of information distributed in 5 MOOCs. This study uses a recent methodology named Extreme Learning Machine to estimate model parameters, statistical descriptives and qualitative analysis by emergent categories. Specifically, the study analyzes what elements of learning support help success and achievement of courses. The variables are related to: description of courses, actions of students with resources and human interaction (peers and teacher) at forums.

The results, have shown that retention can be possible by two aspects:
1) To maintain students after the second quartile of duration of the course because it is when students decide to continue or drop out the course and
2) The teacher presence in its different forms.

On the one hand, some strategies for maintaining students as videos designed with quality and focused on students. Furthermore, the presence of the teacher has to be interactive with students, guiding each module, encouraging collaboration and participation at forums and, overall, asking questions, doubts and suggestions of students. Peer support has not been as essential as it was expected following MOOCs design principles, only in terms of collaboration.