How Can Interactivity Be Facilitated in a Massive Open Online Course? Lessons from the “Principles of Service Management” Course

Henrik Virtanen*, Anu Norrgrann

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Prior research on massive open online courses (MOOCs) suggests interaction to be a key characteristic in terms of improving learners’ engagement, skills development, and learning experience. This study investigates learners’ experiences of participating in MOOCs in order to develop a more detailed understanding of interaction behaviors and the factors that influence them. Based on in-depth interviews conducted with MOOC participants, the study sheds light on the factors that influence interaction as well as their alignment with the self-determination theory. The results indicate that five personal and five environmental factors play a role in either enhancing or hindering interaction. Supporting learners’ autonomy and personalized learning trajectories should serve to promote both interaction and engagement. Despite the autonomous nature of learning via MOOCs, educators’ guidance and encouragement are still required to enliven learners’ interactions. In fact, this study also elucidates the social nature of learning.
Original languageEnglish
Peer-reviewed scientific journalNordic Journal of Business
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)24-46
Number of pages22
Publication statusPublished - 2020
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article - refereed


  • 512 Business and Management
  • Business skills
  • 516 Educational sciences
  • Higher education
  • MOOC
  • Pedagogical development
  • Learning experience
  • Interaction
  • Learner engagement
  • Services Marketing and Philosophy

Sustainable Development Goals

  • GOAL 09: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure

Areas of Strength and Areas of High Potential (AoS and AoHP)

  • AoS: Competition economics and service strategy - Service and customer-oriented management

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