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 - 7th International Learning Analytics and Knowledge Conference: Understanding, Informing and Improving Learning with Data
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery (ACM)
Number of pages10
VolumePart F126742
ISBN (Electronic)9781450348706
StatePublished - 13 Mar 2017
Event7th International Conference on Learning Analytics and Knowledge, LAK 2017 - Vancouver, Canada


Conference7th International Conference on Learning Analytics and Knowledge, LAK 2017

    Research areas

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

ID: 15460998