The 'Idea Advantage': How Content Sharing Strategies Impact Engagement in Online Learning Platforms

Forthcoming at the Journal of Marketing Research

Posted: 3 May 2021

See all articles by Unnati Narang

Unnati Narang

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Manjit S. Yadav

Texas A&M University - Department of Marketing

Aric Rindfleisch

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: April 21, 2021

Abstract

In recent years, online learning platforms (e.g., Coursera, edX) have experienced massive growth and have reached over 180 million learners. Although their reach is quite large, the impact of these platforms is constrained by a low level of learner engagement. In traditional face-to-face classrooms, educators seek to engage learners by asking them to participate in class discussions and share information about their identity and ideas. However, the effectiveness of these strategies in online learning platforms is uncertain. The authors examine this issue by assessing the impact of the types of content sharing on learner engagement. The authors conduct a textual analysis of over 12,000 text postings during an 18-month period (Study 1) and a field experiment among over 2,000 learners (Study 2) in a popular Coursera offering by a large U.S. university. The results indicate that asking learners to share ideas related to the course (vs. their identity) has a stronger effect on their video consumption and assessment completion. The authors explain this “idea advantage” by suggesting that learners who share ideas (vs. identity) exhibit a greater degree of elaboration in their postings. This idea advantage is strongest for learners from English-speaking countries and those new to online learning.

Keywords: education, user-generated content, online platforms, engagement, student retention and performance, field experiment, topic modeling, text mining

JEL Classification: I20, I23, M31, C93

Suggested Citation

Narang, Unnati and Yadav, Manjit S. and Rindfleisch, Aric, The 'Idea Advantage': How Content Sharing Strategies Impact Engagement in Online Learning Platforms (April 21, 2021). Forthcoming at the Journal of Marketing Research, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3833616

Unnati Narang (Contact Author)

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign ( email )

601 E John St
Champaign, IL 61820
United States
N/A (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://unnatinarang.com

Manjit S. Yadav

Texas A&M University - Department of Marketing ( email )

430 Wehner
College Station, TX 77843-4218
United States

Aric Rindfleisch

affiliation not provided to SSRN

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