Argumentation and learning

ILC Louvain-La-Neuve, Mons

Project title

Argumentation and learning

Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs) have become an important learning medium for university students and learners all over the world. These platforms, however, drastically restrain learner-learner and learner-teacher interactions (e.g., López Meneses et al., 2019). These interactions are known to foster engagement in classes as well as learning and conceptual changes through the confrontation of conflicting perspectives and arguments (Kuhn, 1993).

Our goal is to design and test interventions aimed at improving the quantity and quality of interactions on the MOOC discussion forums, by improving learners’ argumentation skills. For this purpose, we will mobilise both structural (i.e., approaches centered on the quality of single arguments, e.g., Toulmin, 1958) and dialectical (i.e., approaches centered on the quality of argumentative exchanges, e.g., Leitão, 2001) perspectives on argumentation to develop transferrable interventions. Doing so will require to consider the various constraints of the MOOC context, such as important dropout rates or the exclusively voluntary participation of learners (Zheng et al., 2015).


In this context, the goals of the project are:

  1. Develop and test interventions aimed at improving MOOC learners’ argumentation skills, while taking into account the constraints of the MOOC context
  2. Examine if improving learners’ argumentative skills with these interventions improves the quality and quantity of interactions on discussion forums
  3. Examine the transferability of the designed interventions across various MOOCs.


     List of presentations and publications

Poster presentation


Nera, K., Frenay, M. & Paquot, M. Améliorer les compétences argumentatives sur les plateformes d’apprentissage en ligne. Poster presented at the Institute for Language and Communication (ILC)’s Poster Day, 17 February 2023, University of Louvain, Belgium.


Contact person:

Post-Doc: Dr. Kenzo Nera



Kuhn, D. (1993). Science as argument: Implications for teaching and learning scientific thinking. Science Education, 77(3), 319–337.

Leitão, S. (2001). Analyzing Changes in View During Argumentation: A Quest for Method. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 2(3).

López Meneses, E., Vázquez Cano, E., & Mac Fadden, I. (2020). MOOC in higher education from the students’ perspective. A sustainable model? Qualitative and Quantitative Models in Socio-Economic Systems and Social Work, 207-223.

Toulmin, S. E. (1958). The uses of argument. Cambridge university press.