Teusner, Ralf; Matthies, Christoph; Staubitz, Thomas
2018 IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference (FIE)
This work presents insights about the long-term effects and retention rates of knowledge acquired within MOOCs. In 2015 and 2017, we conducted two introductory MOOCs on object-oriented programming in Java with each over 10,000 registered participants. In this paper, we analyze course scores, quiz results and self-stated skill levels of our participants. The aim of our analysis is to uncover factors influencing the retention of acquired knowledge, such as time passed or knowledge application, in order to improve long-term success. While we know that some participants learned the programming basics within our course, we lack information on whether this knowledge was applied and fortified after the course's end. To fill this knowledge gap, we conducted a survey in 2018 among all participants of our 2015 and 2017 programming MOOCs. The first part of the survey elicits responses on whether and how MOOC knowledge was applied and gives participants opportunity to voice individual feedback. The second part of the survey contains several questions of increasing difficulty and complexity regarding course content in order to learn about the consolidation of the acquired knowledge. We distinguish three programming knowledge areas in the survey: First, understanding of concepts, such as loops and boolean algebra. Second, syntax knowledge, such as specific keywords. Third, practical skills including debugging and coding. We further analyzed the long-term effects separately per participant skill group. While answer rates were low, the collected data shows a decrease of knowledge over time, relatively unaffected by skill level. Application of the acquired knowledge improves the memory retention rates of MOOC participants across all skill levels.