MOOC & B-learning: Students’ Barriers and Satisfaction in Formal and Non-formal Learning Environments

Elba Gutiérrez-Santiuste, Vanesa-M. Gámiz-Sánchez, & Jose Gutiérrez-Pérez
University of Granada


The study presents a comparative analysis of two virtual learning formats: one non-formal through a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) and the other formal through b-learning. We compare the communication barriers and the satisfaction perceived by the students (N = 249) by developing a qualitative analysis using semi-structured questionnaires and content analysis of the virtual communication in both formats. The results show that the students perceive a low level of barriers and that statistically significant differences exist between the formal and non-formal groups regarding psychological and sociological issues. Our findings show that students express high satisfaction in both educational modes, while the groups’ satisfaction differs in matters related to planning, content, professors, and communication. Finally, we reflect on the strengths and weaknesses of both modes, in hopes that the understanding gained from analyzing each mode may improve or complement the scenario of the other.

About the Author(s)...

Elba Gutiérrez-Santiuste is Professor in the Department of Education of the University of Córdoba, Spain. She holds a PhD in Education from the University of Granada (Spain), a PhD in Education from Tor Vergata University (Rome, Italy), and a Master’s in Research and Innovation in Curriculum and Teacher Training. She is an online education specialist. E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Vanesa M. Gámiz-Sánchez is Professor in the Department of Didactics and School Organization of the University of Granada, Spain. She received her PhD from the University of Granada and has published in the field of educational technology and e-learning.
José Gutiérrez-Pérez is Chair Professor in the Department of Research Methods and Educational Diagnosis of the University of Granada, Spain. He is responsible for the area for University Evaluation and Accreditation of the Directorate for Evaluation and Accreditation of the Andalusian Agency of Knowledge and Director of the Research Group on Environmental and Institutional Evaluation. 
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