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Examining the relations among student motivation, engagement, and retention in a MOOC: A structural equation modeling approach
Xiong, Yao · Li, Hongli · Kornhaber, Mindy L. · Suen, Hoi K. · Pursel, Barton · Goins, Deborah D.

JournalGlobal Education Review
Volume 2, Issue 3, Pages 23-33

Students who are enrolled in MOOCs tend to have different motivational patterns than fee-paying college students. A majority of MOOC students demonstrate characteristics akin more to "tourists" than formal learners. As a consequence, MOOC students’ completion rate is usually very low. The current study examines the relations among student motivation, engagement, and retention using structural equation modeling and data from a Penn State University MOOC. Three distinct types of motivation are examined: intrinsic motivation, extrinsic motivation, and social motivation. Two main hypotheses are tested: (a) motivation predicts student course engagement; and (b) student engagement predicts their retention in the course. The results show that motivation is significantly predictive of student course engagement. Furthermore, engagement is a strong predictor of retention. The findings suggest that promoting student motivation and monitoring individual students’ online activities might improve course retention.

Keywords engagement · MOOC · motivation · retention

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