The Horizons Tracker blog recently featured a post regarding the efforts to improve the quality of Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs), with a focus on the potential importance of cultural differences among learner populations. Using iterative improvement to tailor course content to specific cultural contexts is strongly encouraged by OLI methods of integrating learning science into the educational experience.

As MOOCs have grown in popularity, so too have attempts to improve them, whether that’s in terms of the demographics of the student body, the acceptance of qualifications in the labor market, or the completion rate.

One such study, which I covered a few years ago, suggested that we need to approach the pedagogy of MOOCs in a different way to capitalize on their potential.

The authors believe that the passive nature of MOOCs is often detrimental to the effectiveness of them, and that a more interactive approach would work much better.

The research forms part of Carnegie Mellon’s Simon Initiative, which aims to improve learning outcomes by improving the science behind education. Their approach utilizes the interactive method of learning pioneered by the university’s Open Learning Initiative (OLI).