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An empirical study on the online learning experience of MOOCs: Indian students’ perspective

Rajasshrie Pillai (Department of Management, Pune Institute of Management, Pune, India)
Brijesh Sivathanu (Department of Management, Symbiosis Centre for Information Technology (SCIT), Symbiosis International University (SIU) , Pune, India)

International Journal of Educational Management

ISSN: 0951-354X

Article publication date: 16 December 2019

Issue publication date: 12 March 2020




The purpose of this paper is to investigate the online learning experience (LE) of massive open online courses (MOOCs) among the students in India using the lens of community of inquiry (CoI) model and two additional contextual factors.


The study conducted a survey using a structured questionnaire among the undergraduate and postgraduate students to examine the LE of MOOCs using the CoI framework and contextual variables – technical barrier (TB) and hedonic motivation (HD). The primary data were analyzed with the partial least squares structural equation modeling technique.


The results show that teaching presence (TP) influences cognitive presence (CP) and social presence (SP). SP influences CP. It is also found that TP, SP and CP influence the LE of MOOCs. It is found that TB negatively influences LE but is not significant and HD significantly influences LE positively for MOOCs.

Research limitations/implications

This study has a few limitations as it is a cross-sectional study in India, which surveyed undergraduate and postgraduate MOOCs learners, and caution needs to be taken while generalizing the outcomes. Further studies can be conducted across other countries considering demographic factors like age, gender, income groups, education and profession.

Practical implications

This research highlights the antecedents influencing the LE of MOOC learners using the CoI framework which will help the MOOC designers and marketers to apprehend the factors influencing LE. The results of this research will help them formulate suitable strategies in the design and delivery of MOOCs to improve the LE of learners.


This unique research investigates and empirically validates the CoI framework to understand LE of MOOC learners in India. This research extends the CoI framework by adding contextual factors – TB and HD in the context of a developing country.



Pillai, R. and Sivathanu, B. (2020), "An empirical study on the online learning experience of MOOCs: Indian students’ perspective", International Journal of Educational Management, Vol. 34 No. 3, pp. 586-609.



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