Supporting Self Regulation for Online Course Students

From The Theme

What if we could improve productivity and learning by using software tools as a coach to help users be effective in self-directed online settings?

Online Course Image

As an initial proof-of-concept research project, we set out to conduct the first ever large-scale experimental study of student self regulation in massive online open courses (MOOCs). The research project proposed to examine data from a Science, Technology, Engineering, Math (STEM) MOOC, looking at student use of a variety of time-management software tools, survey responses and course grades. The study sought to compare conditions to measure the effects of the tools on course performance, and on the amount and distribution of student visits to websites unrelated to the course. We also set out to investigate how individual characteristics -such as age, gender, self reported attentiveness, and willpower – impact how individuals interact with, and respond to, time-management tools.

This research explored how software tools can shape learners’ online environments, strategically direct their attention, and act as a coach to promote self-regulation in learning. We found that software can provide an externalized version of the metacognitive skills that some online learners may lack – prompting them to set goals, to get back on track when they are distracted, and to use strategies like spaced recall to remember content for longer. We found that this approach promotes effective learning in self-directed online settings, and can help fulfill the promise of online education for improving worker productivity.

Conversation with Daniel Greene – Open Philanthropy Project – July 28 2015
The Open Philanthropy Project spoke with Mr. Greene of PERTS and Stanford University as part of its investigation into anti-procrastination interventions. Conversation topics included experimentally tested interventions in the fields of goal pursuit and motivation and resources for additional information.

Carol DweckCarol Dweck is the Lewis and Virginia Eaton Professor of Psychology at Stanford University. Her work bridges developmental psychology, social psychology, and personality psychology, and examines the self-conceptions (or mindsets) people use to structure the self and guide their behavior. Her research looks at the origins of these mindsets, their role in motivation and self-regulation, and their impact on achievement and interpersonal processes.

Roy PeaRoy Pea is the David Jacks Professor of Education & the Learning Sciences at Stanford University, Director of Stanford’s H-STAR Institute, Founder & Director of Stanford’s PhD program in Learning Sciences and Technology Design, and Co-Director of the NSF-funded LIFE Center. Dr. Pea publishes widely on K–12 learning and education, especially in science, mathematics, and technology, fostered by advanced technologies including scientific visualization, online communities, digital video collaboratories, and mobile computing.

Daniel GreenDaniel Greene is a doctoral candidate in the Learning Sciences & Technology Design program at the Stanford Graduate School of Education. He applies research into academic mindsets to help students learn in online classrooms, and data-mines the results to advance theory and customize student support.

Richard PattersonRichard Patterson is a fourth year PhD student in Policy Analysis and Management at Cornell University. His areas of research include behavioral economics, economics of education, applied microeconomics and population economics. He is currently working on several projects that investigate factors influencing effort and investment in education and work. Richard lives with his wife in Ithaca, NY and enjoys traveling, cycling, hiking, and reading.