University Of Tasmania

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Designing for quality: The understanding dementia MOOC

The introduction of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) as a vehicle for education delivery presents opportunities and challenges. In the context of the Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre (Wicking Centre), the driver to develop a MOOC was the promise of addressing the international deficit in evidence-based dementia education, as well as the lack of research into international perspectives on dementia. The Wicking Centre's activity integrates research and education, framed by the concept of 'quality of life across the trajectory of dementia.' With dementia emerging as the public health issue of the 21st century, lack of dementia education at multiple levels, professional and non-professional, is of increasing concern. The disruptive character of MOOCs, with associated risks and uncertainties, warranted the application of a research-oriented project management approach to development. This included investing resources in gathering and analysing data to underpin each phase of decision-making. We used a design-based research approach incorporating the concept of 'life-cycle of an e-learning design' (Phillips et al. 2012). Data collection and analysis focused on three dynamically interacting components: 1) expertise in dementia knowledge and dementia education; 2) a cohort-centric approach to design and delivery, and 3) models and designs for MOOCs currently promoted, discussed and reported in the higher education discipline. Laurillard's Conversational Framework, relating types of learning, teaching-learning activities and the digital technologies that support them (2012), informed the selection of digital technology elements for massive-scale engagement of our identified cohort. The paper describes the initial design process and the outcomes of the limited release pilot that informed the first full offering of the MOOC.


Publication title

Electronic Journal of e-Learning








Wicking Dementia Research Education Centre


Academic Conferences and Publishing International Ltd.

Place of publication

United Kingdom

Rights statement

Copyright 2014 ACPIL

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Teaching and instruction technologies