Designing Massive Open Online Learning Processes: The sMOOC Pedagogical Framework

  • Francis BrounsEmail author
  • António Teixeira
  • Lina Morgado
  • Santiago Fano
  • Aquilina Fueyo
  • Darco Jansen
Part of the Lecture Notes in Educational Technology book series (LNET)


Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) as provision of open and online education have become phenomena in higher education that cannot be dismissed. While MOOCs have orginated in Canada and the United States, the cMOOC and the xMOOC model used there does not fit entirely with the European take on education. This chapter describes an alternative, collaborative approach of MOOC design. This approach is based on a model already tested in practice and has been further elaborated and evaluated in the Elearning, Communication and Open-data (ECO) project. The pedagogical framework is based on the notion that MOOCs should be designed to accommodate the specific context of open online education with its heterogeneity of learner needs. It differs very much from a traditional classroom approach and needs to put the learner center-stage in a social networked learning environment. The characteristics of such a pedagogical framework are described and it is explained how digital inclusion, ubiquitous learning, and gamification can provide affordances for active participation of learners that meet the learners’ needs. Examples are given of implementation of these aspects in ECO MOOCs and initial reports of user evaluations indicate that learners liked this approach.


Open online education sMOOC European MOOC design Social learning Connectivist learning Collaborative learning Pedagogical design 



The authors would like to acknowledge the contributions of José Mota, Alejandro Silva, Alessandra Tomasini, and Ada Giannatelli in developing the ECO pedagogical framework‚ and the assistance by Javier Callejo in developing the ECO user satisfaction assessment survey.

Part of the work carried out has been funded with support from the European Commission, under the ICT Policy Support Programme, as part of the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP) in the ECO project under grant agreement no 621127. This publication [communication] reflects the views only of the authors and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Francis Brouns
    • 1
    Email author
  • António Teixeira
    • 2
  • Lina Morgado
    • 2
  • Santiago Fano
    • 3
  • Aquilina Fueyo
    • 3
  • Darco Jansen
    • 4
  1. 1.Welten Institute—Research Centre for Learning, Teaching and TechnologyOpen UniversiteitHeerlenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Education and Distance Learning Department, LEaD—Distance Learning and eLearning LaboratoryUniversidade AbertaLisbonPortugal
  3. 3.Education Sciences Department—eTIC Research Team for the Socially Ethical Use of ICTs in EducationUniversity of OviedoOviedoSpain
  4. 4.EADTU (European Association of Distance Teaching Universities)MaastrichtThe Netherlands

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