In this study, we examine the impact of monetary incentives on user engagement and learning outcomes in massive open online courses (MOOCs). While MOOCs offer highquality interactive educational resources to users worldwide, maintaining user engagement and enthusiasm on these platforms is a challenge. To address this issue, we conduct a field experiment in which users are given monetary incentives to engage in online learning. Our results show that those given a monetary incentive are more likely to submit homework and to gain higher homework grades. We further find that the effect persists even after we remove the monetary incentives and that it spills over into learning behavior in other courses in the same and subsequent semester. Overall, our findings suggest that monetary incentives counteract engagement decay and may help online users form persistent learning habits.
Jie Gong, T. Liu, Jie Tang
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization