Utilizing an SDL Approach in Designing a Gamification-Based MOOC to Enhance Autonomous Learning

Joko Slamet, Yazid Basthomi, Francisca Maria Ivone, Evi Eliyanah
Journal of Information Technology Education: Research  •  Volume 23  •  2024  •  pp. 010

This research explores the design and development of a gamified Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) aligned with the Self-Directed Learning (SDL) approach. The focus is addressing challenges to foster autonomous learning within the MOOC context.

MOOCs have emerged as a prominent platform for global education; however, they face ongoing challenges, particularly in their capacity to facilitate SDL effectively. Despite their popularity, there are gaps and limitations in existing MOOC designs that hinder the cultivation of autonomous learning. This research seeks to bridge these gaps and enhance MOOCs’ ability to support SDL through systematic design improvements and the strategic integration of gamification elements.

In this study, we adopt the Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, and Evaluation (ADDIE) instructional design model as the foundational framework. It begins with the Analysis phase, which includes a comprehensive literature review and a questionnaire administered to 41 undergraduate students to gain insights into learner preferences. The Design phase follows, where we develop an innovative MOOC framework enriched with gamification elements. This framework is then implemented and tested during the Development and Implementation phases. Finally, during the Evaluation phase, field testing of this framework is conducted with a limited-scale participant group.

This research makes a substantial contribution to the academic field and profession by systematically addressing identified gaps and limitations in MOOC design. It delves into the crucial role of MOOCs within the self-learning environment, emphasizing their significance in catering to self-directed learners. Additionally, this research sheds light on the transformative impact of gamification on MOOCs. By showcasing how the ADDIE model can be effectively utilized, this research not only addresses existing challenges but also advocates for the optimization of MOOCs to better serve and empower self-directed learners.

Our study has unveiled a transformational shift in MOOCs. Through the effective integration of gamification, we observed changes in learner engagement, motivation, and the cultivation of SDL behaviors. Participants experienced a substantial increase in their enthusiasm for learning, which led to improvements in their ability to take charge of their learning journeys. This was not merely a superficial enhancement but a profound shift that left participants consistently expressing heightened satisfaction and a deep sense of accomplishment.

Our findings strongly advocate for the adoption of a systematic approach to MOOC design. Practitioners should consider leveraging the ADDIE instructional design model, as demonstrated in our study, to elevate MOOCs to new heights. By strategically incorporating gamification elements, MOOCs can become powerful tools for enhancing learner engagement and fostering autonomous learning. This transformation will not only benefit individual learners but also contribute to the broader landscape of online education.

Researchers should delve deeper into the realm of gamification within MOOCs. The potential for refining and optimizing specific gamification strategies, especially within the structured framework of the ADDIE model, is an area ripe for exploration. Additionally, there is a need for nuanced research that delves into tailoring MOOCs to cater to self-directed learners’ unique needs. By doing so, we can continue to drive the boundaries of knowledge in online education and offer more effective solutions to learners worldwide.

Our study transcends the confines of academic inquiry and holds implications for society. By harnessing the power of gamification within MOOCs, we can enhance online education. This means not only making education more accessible but also rendering it more engaging and effective on a global scale. Our findings have the potential to democratize learning, empower learners, and ultimately contribute to a more educated and skillful society.

Future investigations should embark on a journey to uncover the long-term effects of gamification in MOOCs. Moreover, exploring the scalability of these approaches and their influence on diverse learner populations is paramount. As we move forward, the focus should remain on refining and expanding our understanding of how gamification, within the structured context of the ADDIE instructional design model, can continually optimize the landscape of online education.

MOOC, gamification, autonomous learning, self-directed learning
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