In MOOCs we Trust: Learner Perceptions of MOOC Quality via Trust and Credibility

Eamon Costello, James Brunton, Mark Brown, Laurence Daly


In this study we sought to examine MOOC learners’ levels of trust in the platforms, institutions, and instructors involved in MOOC design and delivery. We sought to examine what influenced learners’ conceptualizations of trust in MOOCs and how this might influence their future intentions towards the related MOOC providers. To this end we examined whether an increase in perceived source credibility of the MOOC increased trusting beliefs of the MOOC learner. Furthermore, we examined whether increases in trusting beliefs of the MOOC learner would lead to an increase in their future trusting intentions. This second question has implications for whether a learner persists in their learning or decides to commit to further study pathways such as paid certificates. In addition to testing these two hypotheses we sought to determine the most significant underlying drivers that learners reported as affecting their trust in MOOCs they undertook. Drawing on concepts of trust from the literature, we adapted and developed a survey instrument and recruited MOOC learners to respond. Following analysis of 76 responses we found a positive correlation between source credibility and learner trust in MOOCs. Further there was also a positive correlation found between trust in MOOCs and learners’ professed future intentions. Finally, we determined several component factors of MOOC trust drivers as reported by MOOC learners. Our work holds potential implications for MOOC platform developers, instructors, and designers in signposting areas where MOOC learners have positive and negative experiences of MOOCs, which can in turn influence their future relationship with the MOOC providers.


MOOCs; Trust; Credibility; Online Learning; Quality, Business Models

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Copyright (c) 2018 Eamon Costello, Laurence Daly, James Bruton, Mark Brown

International Journal of Emerging Technologies in Learning (iJET) – eISSN: 1863-0383
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