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Self-Determination Theory and MOOC enrollment motivation: Validation of the online learning enrollment intentions scale

Stone, Jason E.
Personalized learning tracks within MOOCs remain underdeveloped. Despite MOOCs possessing tremendous potential for personalized learning, little individualization of the MOOC has occurred. Some students look at MOOCs as a textbook, others as a formal course, and others as an opportunity to socialize. Understanding student enrollment needs are a critical initial step to helping students get the most out of MOOC. The online learning enrollment intentions scale (OLEI) (Kizilcec & Schneider, 2015) inventories student enrollment motivation in MOOCs. Despite being a short measure of enrollment motivation, the OLEI has not been widely deployed in MOOCs or reported in MOOC literature. This investigation contributes to the validity and reliability evidence of the OLEI by correlating it with mature instruments based on Self-Determination Theory (SDT) and Self-Regulated Learning (SRL). SDT posits that humans are moved by intrinsic, extrinsic, and social motivations. SDT also asserts that the absence of motivation is amotivation. Amotivation is an important construct to study in MOOCs. The overwhelming majority of students sign up for MOOCs and fail to pursue significant learning beyond initial sign-up. Understanding this amotivational state is necessary to developing interventions that motivate MOOC learners to return to the course before they fail to satisfy their learning goals. These four motivational states (intrinsic, extrinsic, social, and amotivational) were investigated using quantitative methods. This study used correlation coefficients to compare associations between the OLEI and instruments built on SDT and SRL. Sixty-eight participants were solicited from active MOOCs on the edX and Coursera platforms. Results support that the OLEI accurately inventories extrinsic and amotivational initial enrollment states. Less support was reported with validity associations for intrinsic or social motivational states and the OLEI. Validity and reliability evidence for the OLEI is reported.