MOOCs as an Alternative for Teacher Professional Development: Examining Learner Persistence in One Chinese MOOC


Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have developed into a significant international movement, showing great promise in addressing equity, quality, and efficiency issues in global education. To date, many MOOCs have been developed specifically for teacher professional development (TPD). In this regard, an important empirical question remains to be addressed: How and to what extent can MOOCs support equity, quality, and efficiency in teacher professional development? To help fill this knowledge gap, this study, conducted from 2014 to 2016, focused on persistent teacher-learners in a TPD MOOC that was offered for seven consecutive rounds by the X-Learning Center of Peking University. The study found that more than 15% of the 105,383 teachers who enrolled in this MOOC were persistent teacher learners, defined as learners who enrolled in multiple rounds. Data analysis showed that these persistent teacher-learners had diverse motivations for re-enrollment, including refreshing conceptual understanding, achieving higher scores, earning course certification, and discussing practical problems. The study also found that the persistent teacher-learners developed self-regulated learning skills in the course of multiple rounds of the MOOC and showed significantly higher learning achievement than one-time enrollees. Qualitative and quantitative analysis of both clicklog data and interview data revealed additional insights into the persistent teacher-learners’ learning within the MOOC and their real-world teaching practice beyond the MOOC. Overall, this study contributes to an improved understanding of the potential of MOOCs as an alternative TPD delivery mode in developing countries and sheds light on the future design of effective TPD through MOOCs.

Recommended Citation

Wang, Q., Chen, B., Fan, Y., & Zhang, G. (2018). MOOCs as an alternative for teacher professional development: Examining learner persistence in one Chinese MOOC. Foundation for Information Technology Education and Development.

This work is made available under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License: