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Higashi, R. M., Schunn, C. D., & Flot, J. B. (2017). Different underlying motivations and abilities predict student versus teacher persistence in an online course. Educational Technology Research and Development, 65(6), 1471–1493.

This correlational study examined the persistence of K-12 students compared to teachers in an online MOOC formatted course.  Viewed through the lens of two primary motivational theories: Achievement Goal Theory and Expectancy-Value Theory, data from three researcher created-instruments are collected and analyzed.  These data include demographics, a programming knowledge assessment, and a motivation survey.  Data are quantitative, collected in a pre/post fashion with the MOOC course as the intervention.  Results show that while students and teacher may possess similar intrinsic motivation, persistence is driven by differing factors.  Differences include mastery goals as a driver for students and performance goals, identity and performance avoidance goals more prevalent for teachers for teachers.

The two motivational theories discussed in the literature review are described clearly.  This is helpful for readers unfamiliar with either theory to gain context and become exposed to new motivational framework.  Summaries are broad enough for this reader, but succinct enough for the more experienced consumer.  Connect to the present issue research – persistence (or the lack of) in MOOC courses.  While this is a relatively small MOOC, it appears the results may generalize well.  Documentation of the statistical analyses is another strong point of this research.  However, the reporting could be a bit clearer.  The narrative reporting of results can impact clarity, when a small figure might aid in illustration.

I felt the discussion clarified the likely reasons for the differences found between students and teachers participating in MOOCs.  I found this fascinating, because I have been interested in MOOCs since their inception, and watched the idea explode and likewise fade quickly – primarily because of issues with persistence and retention.  While this has been addressed in other research, I have not seen a study looking at K-12 students.  In fact, it did not occur to me that K-12 students would be interested in MOOCs.  I also found value in the lit review. The summaries are helpful in continuing to map the landscape of motivational theory.