Reflections on Instructional Design Guidelines From the MOOCification of Distance Education: A Case Study of a Course on Design for All

Reflections on Instructional Design Guidelines From the MOOCification of Distance Education: A Case Study of a Course on Design for All

Covadonga Rodrigo (Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED), Spain), Francisco Iniesto (The Open University, UK) and Ana García-Serrano (Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED), Spain)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 17
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2325-4.ch002


There are some similarities in developing distance education online courses and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) using the basis of eLearning instructional design. However, the task of converting an online course into a MOOC is not as simple as direct migration of eLearning materials and assessment resources into a MOOC platform. In online learning, learners should be continually influenced by information, social interaction, and learning experiences, providing them with the knowledge to come up with new ideas to develop within an engaging course. In this chapter, the process of MOOCification a distance education online course on “Design for All for an Inclusive and Accessible Society” is explained and contextualized. The re-factorization process has been based upon the quality model used for MOOCs at UNED Abierta and the instructional design based on Gagné's events of instruction. The eLearning activities were completely refactored, along with the content itself, the interaction events, and the online assessment following the Gardner's multiple intelligences product grid.
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Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have been a turning point in online learning delivery, in some cases being positioned as an alternative to traditional higher education (HE) courses (Yuan & Powell, 2013). It offers teachers, researchers and practitioners the opportunity to experiment with different pedagogies, trying different possibilities using their materials in either face to face or online campus settings, such as in flipped classroom or blended learning approaches (Hoyos et al., 2019; Hill, 2012). The pedagogical and visual design of MOOCs, their information architecture, usability and interaction design, is having a variable impact on learner engagement, retention and completion rates, as previously analyzed in adult learning (Montgomery & Mallette, 2018; Jordan, 2015; Yang et al., 2013; Liyanagunawardena et al., 2014). For instance, Jordan (2015) confirms that completion rates vary significantly, from 0.7% to 52.1%, with an average value of 12.6%, according to course length (longer courses having lower completion rates), start date (recent courses having higher percentage completion) and assessment type (courses using auto-grading having higher completion rates).

Recent innovations in MOOCs include the creation of new educational approaches (both from the pedagogical and technological point of view) that can be used to rethink education, also renewing calls for inclusive education to reach all citizens. Social inclusion can only be obtained by embedding inclusive strategies, leading to targeting and including vulnerable groups, such as people with disabilities, being emphasized (de Waard et al., 2014), although there has been limited progress to date in either producing accessible MOOCs, or tailoring MOOCs to meet individual learners’ needs (Iniesto et al., 2016).

MOOCs are usually developed and delivered as independent online courses, but some pedagogical experiments have been reported by teachers and researchers on how to integrate MOOC into HE (Sandeen, 2013). From being video courseware repositories to dynamically adaptive eLearning models, the MOOC ecosystem has matured significantly leading to a wider taxonomy of MOOCs (as explained originally in the taxonomy of 8 types of MOOC developed by Clark (2013). Transfer MOOCs are created with recordings of existing classroom video lectures and engage learners by different motivating factors (Sooryanarayan & Gupta, 2015). Other researchers wrap formal university courses around existing MOOCs (Koller, 2012; Bruff, 2012; Bruff et al., 2013; Caufield et al., 2013; Holotescu et al. 2014), while some have attempted a different approach, where the participation of learners in different MOOCs was integrated into a blended course run on a social mobile Learning Management System (LMS) (Conole, 2008). More recently, Defaweux et al. (2019) combined a MOOC with a face-to-face course using blended pedagogical patterns.

Integration of MOOCs into HE appears to be converging on content licensing to support hybrid or flipped classes, an incremental change from current practice rather than a fundamental transformation (Sandeen, 2013; Rodrigo et al., 2016). As revealed by Gasevic et al. (2014), the design of MOOCs and their integration into formal curricula was one of the main research themes within the framework of future MOOC research. Gasevic also stated the need to increase efforts towards enhancing multi-disciplinarily. According to Desarathy et al. (2014), MOOCs could enhance crowd-sourcing multi-institutional degrees and competence-based education by improving the quality and personalization of the learner experience.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Quality Model: Is the framework of a product quality evaluation system, it determines which quality characteristics will be taken into account when evaluating the properties of an educational product.

Accessibility: All learners can use courses in a range of contexts of use, including mainstream and assistive technologies; to achieve this, courses need to be designed and developed, considering technical and learning design aspects, to support usability across these contexts.

MOOC: MOOCs are courses designed for large numbers of participants, which can be accessed by anyone anywhere as long as they have an internet connection, are open to everyone without entry qualifications, and offer a complete course experience online for free.

Instructional Design: The instructional design process consists of determining the needs of learners, defining the end goals and objectives of instruction, designing and planning assessment tasks, and designing teaching and learning activities to ensure the quality of instruction.

eLearning: A learning system that we can obtain through the internet using an electronic device. I can also be called online learning or online education.

MOOCification: The process of converting a distance education online course into a MOOC.

Design for All: Design of products, services and systems by as many people as possible without the need for adaptation.

Multiple Intelligences: The theory of multiple intelligences differentiates human intelligence into specific 'modalities', rather than seeing intelligence as dominated by a single.

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