Evaluating Instructional Design Quality of Iranian MOOCs Based on Merrill’s and Margaryan’s Principles


1 Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran

2 Faculty Member of Educational Technology, Wageningen University and Research, the Netherlands


A great deal of attention has been paid to the experiences of learners and stakeholders in assessing the quality of massive open online courses (MOOCs), while participants' experiences in MOOCs and stakeholders are highly important factors in this process. Therefore, this study aims at evaluating instructional design quality of MOOCs based on Merrill’s first instructional principles and Margaryan principles. For this study, a method of evaluation research was used based on the expert standpoints. Statistical population consisted of 20 internally-developed platforms of MOOCs, which 40 courses (2 courses from each platform) were selected by using simple random sampling method. This study was carried out from February to July 2018. To do so, a check list of 28 questions was designed by researchers based on the prescriptive strategies of Merrill's first instructional principles (problem-oriented, activation, presentation, application, integration) and Margaryan’s principles (collective knowledge, collaboration, distinction, authentic sources and feedback). Accordingly, instructional quality evaluation of MOOCs courses was carried out by the educational technology specialists. Descriptive and inferential findings revealed that instructional design quality of MOOCs based on the points of specialists is under-evaluated and does not address Merrill’s first instructional principles as well as the ones of Margaryan. It is suggested that in addition to paying attention to the elements of the MOOCs platform and its facilities, the Merrill's and Margaryan’s principles should be used in designing the MOOCs content.