Tuesday, 10 June 2014

#CALRG14 Strategies for Successful #MOOC learning @Nkbe1 Bernard Nkuyubwatsi

Next talk was on strategies for Successful MOOC learning: the voice from the World Record Breaker by Bernard Nkuyubwatsi.(and on twitter here)
I saw Bernard at the EU MOOC in Lausanne, Switzerland, where his then talk was already of interest, so I was looking forward to this new talk here as well. And indeed Bernard again provided a great talk, as it provided practical insights into successful mooc learning from a practitioner.

Conceptual framework: less 10 percent complete MOOCs (Daniel, Breslow et al. 2013, Graigner 2013, Kizilcec et al, 2013) and other references (got lost typing there :-)

His focus is again heutagogy (what I am also looking at): self-determined learning or heutagogy (Canning, 201; Canning and Callan, 2010, Anderson 2010, Blaschke, 2012), so again this term has potential (we can all feel it).

This case focuses on AB from Bangladesh who followed 32 MOOCs successfully (passing, getting a certificate for 28 MOOCs, and browsing meaningfully for others) in 1 year. He is a college student. This means he was in college and took MOOC on top of what he was learning.

This is a single case study, interview based on phone and skype interviews. Everything was transcribed, and shared with participant for meaning.

Changes as result of learning MOOCs

  • Dramatic development of English language ability
  • Dramatic increase in understanding physics, mathematics, and chemistry
  • Social recognition: appreciation from teacher and peers
  • “when I showed certificates to my teachers, they appreciated me, … I became an important person to my class… I was given honour”.

The cost

  • 3 – 3,5 hours of sleeping time
  • Sacrificing some college class sessions to complete MOOC assignments 
  • Sacrifice some of social activities to find time for learning MOOCs

Preliminary findings

  • Decision making: learn something new
  • Focus: choose 1 platform = Coursera, and make own specialization (sciences, related to his courses in college)
  • Prioritizing: make a list of things and work on most important ones first.
  • Using learning planning and management tools

Google calendars: record important dates with alarms
Notice board: notes on deadlines, important information, weekly plans
Evernote: notes on important dealines or information that needed further research

All through: with passion and perseverance: he retook the first MOOC, as he failed it at first, because he needed to move to a different village for internet access. Which is why he failed, and wanted to take it again.


  • The learner demonstrated a high level of capability of controlling and managing his own learning:
  • He made decision to learn something new
  • He chose 1 platform and created own specialization
  • Used tools to plan and manage own learning
  • He prioritized his daily/weekly activities

The study agrees with findings that MOOC student who want certificate from the course start tend to perform highly (Cisel, 2014)
The study shows that although MOOCs have mostly been beneficial to highly educated learners from developed countries, this case shows also opportunities to specific learners.