What's in It for Me? Incentives, Learning, and Completion in Massive Open Online Courses

Reeves T. D., Tawfik A. A., Msilu F., Simsek I.

JOURNAL OF RESEARCH ON TECHNOLOGY IN EDUCATION, vol.49, pp.245-259, 2017 (SSCI) identifier identifier


This study investigated the distribution of incentives (e.g., certificates, badges) for massive open online course (MOOC) completion, and relationships between incentives and MOOC outcomes. Participants were 779 MOOC students internationally who participated in at least 303 different MOOCs offered by at least 12 providers. MOOC participants most commonly intended to receive, and in actuality received, free and paid course certificates of completion; other incentives (e.g., digital badges, postsecondary credits) were far less common. In addition, MOOC participants' intentions to receive both free and paid certificates were consistently and positively related to perceived learning and course completion, net other factors.