By Kristin DeCarr
A new report that analyzes student data from massive open online courses (MOOCs) suggests that instead of being simply offered information, student learn best through experiences and doing things for themselves.
The study, “Learning is Not a Spectator Sport: Doing is Better than Watching for Learning from a MOOC,” explores the interactive activities included in MOOCs and compares them to the learning benefits provided through videos and text of such courses. Findings suggest that those students who participate in the activities learn more than those who only watch the videos and listen to the lectures. Researchers estimate that the effects of learning by doing are 6 times that of watching more videos or reading more text.
The online course “Introduction to Psychology as a Science” was used for the study and offered at the Georgia Institute of Technology. While some of the students in the course opted to take part on a traditional level by watching video lectures, others chose to participate in a different version that allowed them to make use of interactive materials made available by Carnegie Mellon’s Open Learning Initiative.