The Influence of Instructional Design on Learner Control, Sense of Achievement, and Perceived Effectiveness in a Supersize MOOC Course

Document Type


Publication Date





Responding to the lack of empirical studies on the effects of instructional design components on MOOCs, this study explores which instructional design components (e.g., course content, transactional interaction between student and content, structure/organization, assessment) influence learner control, sense of progress in the achievement of learning goals (sense of progress), and perceived effectiveness in a large-scale MOOC course called “Learning How to Learn” hosted in Coursera, a MOOC learning platform. Using an online survey distributed to learners who registered for the current Coursera English-language version of the course, we collected 1364 responses. Three separate hierarchical regression analyses revealed that all course design factors, transactional interaction between student and content (β =.111, pβ=.117, pβ =.432, pβ=.281, pβ=.108, pβ =.102, pβ=.073, pβ=.416, pβ=.030, p = .373). These findings provided empirical evidence that instructional components are critical predictors of student learning in MOOCs, which have been conceptualized as important factors in prior studies. Future research should focus on identifying effective and efficient ways to facilitate assessments as part of the learning process while accommodating personalized learning needs. Interpretations of the findings, discussions, and limitations are also addressed in this paper.