Hasso Plattner Institute (GERMANY)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN14 Proceedings
Publication year: 2014
Pages: 3931-3941
ISBN: 978-84-617-0557-3
ISSN: 2340-1117
Conference name: 6th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 7-9 July, 2014
Location: Barcelona, Spain
A lot of research has been done in maintaining and increasing the intrinsic motivation of learners within online courses. Especially in Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), where personal supervision cannot be offered, due to the high amount of course participants, this is crucial to avoid high dropout rates. The users’ journey into the world of online learning begins earlier, however. In an ideal situation, prior to starting a course, users would make themselves comfortable with the offerings of the platform. In an even more ideal world, they would be assisted and supported by the platform during this process.

Registration, enrollment, understanding the basic structure and functionality of the MOOC-platform, the handling of empty states (e.g. a progress page right at the beginning of the course when there is no user progress available yet) are just a few obstacles the freshman user has to master before she can start with studying the actual topics of the course.

The paper at hand first classifies the different onboarding mechanisms based on a literature review and insights from outside the e-learning scope.
Following current approaches of major MOOC platforms are described, categorised and evaluated. Based on the evaluation results a best-practice guide is presented for MOOC-providers, which could also be applied to other types of Learning Management Systems. Finally, a prototypical implementation of an onboarding mechanism, which is based on the prior findings, on the authors’ own MOOC-platform, is shortly described.
MOOC, Onboarding, Gamification.