The authors noted that worldwide, many people have enrolled in massive open online courses, i.e., MOOCs; however, far fewer have completed them. People in countries with relatively low United Nations’ Human Development Indices (based on factors such as life expectancy, education, and standard of living) are less likely to complete these free courses than students in more developed countries. The researchers explored whether psychological interventions may help to narrow this global achievement gap. The results were promising. MOOC students who participated in the following interventions improved in their academic performance, closing the persistence gap between students from less and more developed countries:
- Value relevance activity: Students wrote about how their course participation serves their most important values.
- Social belonging activity: Students read and summarized previous students’ testimony about how they were initially worried about belonging in the course but later became more comfortable.