A Detailed Study of Boeing Shows Learners’ Engagement and Performance on an edX MOOC

IBL News | New York

With learning analytics and data mining, employers will be able to optimize workforce training. Learners’ engagement, performance, and trajectories can be examined and new ways to effectively acquire new knowledge are determined.

To prove it, a group of four specialists supported by Boeing (Michael Richey, Mark Cousino, Michael Ginda and Katy Börner) has written a paper introducing a set of metrics and visualizations to identify prototypical behavior and learning pathways.

This research comes after validating over 30 million separate logged events that capture activities of 1,608 Boeing engineers taking the MITxPro Course, “Architecture of Complex Systems,” delivered in Fall 2016 on edX.

Visualization results show course structure and patterns of learner interactions with course material, activities, and assessments.

“In the information age, skills and knowledge required to perform professional jobs are changing rapidly. Proactive up-skilling and retraining of people are critical. Companies are spending billions of dollars each year to develop courses, train their existing workforce, and onboard new hires. Many companies resort to mass training; the majority being inefficient web-based and costly instructor lead training with some companies innovating in teaching and learning analytics to increase return on investment (ROI) for the many diverse learning and training interventions,” say the authors.

“Some companies encourage employees to pursue off-the-shelf courses that teach job-relevant skills; while other companies have engaged educational providers to co-create courses and certificates that meet industry-specific needs to help close the theory-practice gap.”

“Online courses and short topical certificates with proper instrumentation reduce costs, scale to a broad cohort of geographically dispersed learners, support (a)synchronous learning, and generate real-time, micro-level data from thousands of learners using different types and sequences of learning modules.”

Recent advances in course instrumentation and advances in learning analytics and data mining make it feasible to use detailed clickstream data to understand and support online teaching and learning

Graphics, maps and study results showcase a detailed clickstream data of 1,608 Boeing engineers’ learning engagement, performance, and trajectories.


PLOS.org: Visualizing learner engagement, performance, and trajectories to evaluate and optimize online course design