Getting to know English language learners in MOOCs

Getting to know English language learners in MOOCs: Their motivations, behaviors and outcomes

Selen Turkay, Hadas Eidelman, Yigal Rosen, Daniel Seaton, Glenn Lopez, and Jacob Whitehill

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) promise to engage a global audience and emphasize the democratic achievement of free, university-level education. While such open access enables participation, it is unclear how learners who are not fluent in English engage with MOOC content. After all, the language of MOOCs is English. In order to improve accessibility for ELLs in digital learning environments, we must first have a clear understanding of the educational landscape: who are the non-native English speakers enrolled in MOOCs? Where are they located geographically? What are their current online learning behaviors, motivations and outcomes? In this paper we start answering some of these questions by analyzing data from 100 HarvardX courses, using self-report and log data. Specifically, we highlight challenges, goals, present empirical outcomes, and lay out future interventions for ELLs in digital learning environments, specifically in MOOCs.