Social comparison theory asserts that we establish our social and personal worth by comparing ourselves to others. In in-person learning environments, social comparison offers students critical feedback on how to behave and be successful. By contrast, online learning environments afford fewer social cues to facilitate social comparison. Can increased availability of such cues promote effective self-regulatory behavior and achievement in Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)? We developed a personalized feedback system that facilitates social comparison with previously successful learners based on an interactive visualization of multiple behavioral indicators. Across four randomized controlled trials in MOOCs (overall N = 33, 726), we find: (1) the availability of social comparison cues significantly increases completion rates, (2) this type of feedback benefits highly educated learners, and (3) learners' cultural context plays a significant role in their course engagement and achievement.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLAK 2017 Conference Proceedings of the 7th International Learning Analytics and Knowledge Conference
Place of PublicationNew York, NY
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery (ACM)
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-4503-4870-6
StatePublished - 13 Mar 2017
EventLAK 2017 - Vancouver, BC, Canada


ConferenceLAK 2017
Abbreviated titleLAK'17
CityVancouver, BC
Internet address

    Research areas

  • Cultural differences, Feedback, Framing, Learning analytics, Massive open online course, Social comparison

ID: 15460998