Driving High Inclination to Complete Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs): Motivation and Engagement Factors for Learners


  • Lee Yen Chaw
  • Chun Meng Tang




inclination to complete, learning engagement, learning motivation, massive open online course, online learning


Today, online learning is prospering from the widely available and easily accessible connection to the Web. Massive open online course (MOOC) platforms such as Coursera, edX, and Udemy have made available several thousands of short courses at several difficulty levels in a wide variety of disciplines, ranging from business, computer science to literature, for learners to select from. Learners who are looking to earn credentials for career advancement or personal interest would find MOOCs attractive not only because of the time and place flexibility these courses offer, but also because of the free enrollment or the very small certificate fee upon completion, as well as the emergent recognition these courses are receiving for their high quality learning delivery from leading educational institutions. Learners who enroll in a MOOC would typically need to participate in various learning activities and complete a few assessment tasks to complete the course. However, it has been commonly reported that the completion rates of MOOCs are low. Based on the common notion that when learners are more motivated to learn, they are likely to better engage in learning and have a higher likelihood to complete a MOOC, this study adopted the Motivation and Engagement Scale (MES) by Martin (2007, 2009) to collect responses from university students to examine whether positive motivation resulted in positive engagement; whether negative motivation resulted in negative engagement; and how positive or negative engagement swayed learners’ inclination to complete a MOOC if they were to enroll in one. Findings show that there was a statistically significant positive relationship between positive motivation and positive engagement, between negative motivation and negative engagement, and between positive engagement and inclination to complete a MOOC. However, the relationship between negative engagement and inclination to complete a MOOC was statistically not significant. Findings of this study can be useful to MOOC providers and learners in their effort to develop strategies to increase completion rates of MOOCs.



1 Jun 2019