Spanish Adult Students’ Intention- Behaviour Toward MOOCs During the COVID-19 Pandemic

  • Mª. Angeles Escobar-Alvarez Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia
  • Julie Ciancio Westcliff University
Keywords: MOOC, COVID-19, intention-behaviour, students' needs, ICT, EFL, adult students, brief-learning courses


Many Spanish students need to learn English beyond the age of 25 to be able to find a job or be further promoted. Unfortunately, those who attempt to pass a university entry-qualifications test often lack the required academic level. To help them achieve this goal, they are usually provided with learning materials and supportive digital resources. During the covid-19 pandemic, the need for online resources increased. This is why the National Distance Education University offered a massive open online course (mooc) on elementary English. The main goal of this contrastive qualitative study was twofold: First, it attempted to explore adult students’ intention-behaviour while taking the course. Secondly it delved into students’ satisfaction with this type of courses during two different years: 2017 and 2020 when the pandemic had a clear impact on distance education. For this purpose, the study used a comprehensive post-questionnaire given at the end of both courses. The data revealed a few significant differences regarding students’ satisfaction, intentions, perceptions, and interests in contexts where face-to-face-learning was not an option. These findings suggest that mooc should be considered as an alternative way to build specific content in situations of crisis.

= 63 veces | PDF
= 47 veces|


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biographies

Mª. Angeles Escobar-Alvarez, Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia

Full Professor, Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED), Madrid, Spain.

Julie Ciancio, Westcliff University

Chief Academic Officer, Westcliff University, Irvine, CA, USA



Anders, A. (2015) Theories and applications of massive online open courses (MOOCs): The case for hybrid design. International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning 16(6): 39-61.
Bárcena, E. & Read, T. (2015) The Role of Modularity and Mobility in Language MOOCs. Verbeia: Journal of English and Spanish Studies 1: 28-35.
Bárcena, E., Martín-Monje, E., & Read, T. (2015) Potentiating the Human Dimension in Language MOOCs. EXPERIENCE TRACK Proceedings of the European MOOC Stakeholder Summit.
Bargh, J. A. (2006) What have we been priming all these years? On the development, mechanisms, and ecology of nonconscious social behaviour. European Journal of Social Psychology, 36(2): 147–168.
Baumeister, R. F., & Bargh, J. A. (2014) Conscious and unconscious: Toward an integrative understanding of human mental life and action. In J.W. Sherman, B. Gawronski, Y. Trope (Eds.) Dual-process Theories of the Social Mind. New York, NY, US: Guilford Press, 35-49.
Brahimi, T., & Sarirete, A. (2015) Learning outside the classroom through MOOCs. Computers in Human Behaviour, 51:604–609.
Breslow, L., Pritchard, D. E., DeBoer, J., Stump, G. S., Ho, A. D., & Seaton, D. T. (2013) Studying learning in the worldwide classroom: Research into edX's first MOOC. Research & Practice in Assessment, 8(1): 13–25
Canole, G. (2016) MOOCs as disruptive technologies: strategies for enhancing the learner experience and quality of MOOCs. Revista de Educación a Distancia (RED), 50(2).
Castrillo de Larreta Azelain, M.D, Martín-Monje, E. & Vázquez-Cano, E. (2018) Guía práctica para el diseño y tutorización de MOOC. Telefónica Educación Digital
Castrillo de Larreta Azelain, M.D (2015) Language Teaching in MOOCs: The integral Role of the Instructor. In E.Martín-Monje & E. Bárcena (eds.), Language MOOCs: Providing Learning, Transcending Boundaries. Berlin: De Gruyter Open, 67-90
Christensen, G., Steinmetz, A., Alcorn, B., Bennett, A., Woods, D., & Emanuel, E. J. (2013). The MOOC phenomenon: Who take massive open online courses and why? SSRN Electronic Journal.
Corder, G. W.; Foreman, D. I. (2014). Nonparametric Statistics: A Step-by-Step Approach. Wiley
Escobar M. A. (2020). Developing CLIL in tertiary education: Working with tourism texts. In K. Nalan, E. Isik-Tas, & H. Jian (Eds.), English for specific purposes instruction and research: Current practices, challenges and innovations (pp. 269-288). New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Escobar, M.A; da Cunha, I; Gonzalez-Mingez M.T.; A. Luzondo (2017, 2020, 2 ed.). Curso de Inglés para Adultos. Madrid: UNED publicaciones
Escobar, M. A., Ciancio, J., da Cunha, I., & Luzondo, A. (2017, 2020). LMOOC:
Gramatica Inglesa para curso de acceso.
Escobar, M. A., da Cunha, I. (2018). Designing writing materials for tourism
text genres through technological tools. In L. Hurajová, G. Chmelíková, & N. Stojkovic (Eds.), Convergence of ESP with other disciplines (pp. 1-18). New York: Vernon Press.
Grünewald, F., Meinel, C., Totschnig, M. & Willems, C. (2013). Designing MOOCs for the support of multiple learning styles. In D. Hernández-Leo, T. Ley, R. Klamma y A. Harrer (eds.), Scaling up learning for sustained impact. Berlín: Springer, 371-382.
Gütl, C., Rizzardini, R. H., Chang, V., & Morales, M. (2014). Attrition in MOOC: Lessons learned from drop-out students. In L. Uden, J. Sinclair, Y.-H. Tao, & D. Liberona (eds.). Learning technology for education in cloud. MOOC and big data. New York, NY: Springer International Publishing. 37–48.
Hew, K. F., & Cheung, W. S. (2014). Students' and instructors' use of massive open online courses (MOOCs): Motivations and challenges. Educational Research Review, 12: 45–58.
Hutchinson, T. and Waters, A. (1987). English for Specific Purposes. A Learning-Centred Approach. Cambridge: C.U.P.
Kenny, N., & Escobar, L. (Eds.). (2020). The changing face of ESP in today’s
classroom and workplace. New York: Vernon Press.
Kenny, N., Isik-Tad, E., and Huang J. (2020). English for Specific Purposes Instruction and Research: Current Practices, Challenges and Innovations. London: Palgrave Macmillan
Koller, D., Ng, A., Do, C., & Chen, Z. (2013). Retention and intention in massive open online courses. EDUCAUSE Review: 62-63.
Kuhl, J. & Quirin, M. (2011). Seven steps toward freedom and two ways to lose it: Overcoming limitations of intentionality through self-confrontational coping with stress. Social Psychology, 42(1): 74–84.
Lehmann E. L. (1992). "Introduction to Neyman and Pearson (1933) On the Problem of the Most Efficient Tests of Statistical Hypotheses". In: Breakthroughs in Statistics, Volume 1, (Eds Kotz, S., Johnson, N.L.), Springer-Verlag.
Liyanagunawardena, T. R., Williams, S. A. (2016 January 7). Elderly learners and massive open online courses: A review. Interactive Journal of Medical Research 5(1):el
Loizzo, J., Ertmer, P. A., Watson, W. R., Watson, S. L. (2017). Adult MOOC learners as self-directed: perceptions of motivation, success, and completion. Online Learning, 21(2).
Martín-Monje, E., Bárcena, E. (eds.) (2014). Language MOOCs: Providing Learning, Transcending Boundaries. Berlin: De Gruyter Open.
Mengual-Andrés, S., & Payà Rico, A. P. (2018). Open educational resources’ impact and outcomes: The essence of open knowledge and its social contribution. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 26 (119).
Pankowska, M. B. (2017). MOOCs as supplement of informal education. International Journal of E-Adoption, 9(1): 10-25.
Sheeran, P. & Web T. L. (2016). The Intention-behaviour gap. Social and Personality Psychology Compass 10(9), 503–518
Pilli, O. & Admiraal, W. (2016) A. taxonomy of massive open online courses. Contemporary Educational Technology 7(3), 223-240
Siemens, G. (2005). Connectivism: A learning theory for the digital age. International Journal of Instructional Technology & Distance Learning, 2: 3-10.
Thompson, G., & Mckinley, J. (2018). Integration of content and language learning. In J. I. Liontas, M. DelliCarpini, & S. Abrar-ul-Hassan (Eds.), TESOL Encyclopedia of English Language Teaching (1st ed.). Wiley.Torres, W. J., & Beier, M. E. (2018) Adult development in the wild: The determinants of autonomous learning in a massive open online course. Learning and Individual Differences, 65: 207-217.
Universities UK. (2013). Massive open online courses: Higher education’s digital moment? London, UK: Author. Retrieved from
Walker, T. (2018). ‘Who are our learners? A research based insight into FutureLeaerners’ In N. O’grady (ed.) Newsletter content. Retrieved from
Wedemeyer, C. A. (1973). Characteristics of open learning systems. Report of NAEB advisory committee on open learning systems to NAEB conference. New Orleans, LA.
Wood,W., & Neal, D. T. (2007) A new look at habits and the habit-goal interface. Psychological Review, 114(4): 843–863.
Zapata-Ros, M. (2013). MOOCs, una visión crítica y una alternativa complementaria: la individualización del aprendizaje y de la ayuda pedagógica. Campus Virtuales, nº 01, v. II.
How to Cite
Escobar-Alvarez M. A., & Ciancio J. (2021). Spanish Adult Students’ Intention- Behaviour Toward MOOCs During the COVID-19 Pandemic. Íkala, 26(3), 531-551.