Analyzing MOOC discussion forum messages to identify cognitive learning information exchanges

Jian Syuan Wong, Bart Pursel, Anna Divinsky, Bernard J. Jansen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


While discussion forums in online courses have been studied in the past, no one has proposed a model linking messages in discussion forums to a learning taxonomy, even though forums are widely used as educational tools in online courses. In this research, we view forums as information seeking events and use a keyword taxonomy approach to analyze a large amount of MOOC forum data to identify the types of learning interactions taking place in forum conversations. Using 51,761 forum messages from 8,169 forum threads from a MOOC with a 50,000+ enrollment, messages are analyzed based on levels of Bloom's Taxonomy to categorize the scholarly discourse. The results of this research show that interactions within MOOC discussion forums are a learning process with unique characteristics specific to particular cognitive learning levels. Results also imply that different types of forum interactions have characteristics relevant to particular learning levels, and the volume of higher levels of cognitive learning incidents increase as the course progresses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalProceedings of the Association for Information Science and Technology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Computer Science
  • Library and Information Sciences


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