Prior knowledge has been known to play a large role in the success of MOOCs. Using the virtual learning environment of “Mathe im Advent” (MiA), we have analyzed possibly influential factors for the persistence of students, specifically prior mathematical and language abilities. Furthermore, we have connected linguistic indicators of text difficulty to fluctuations and differences in participating populations. MiA is a German virtual advent calendar offering 24 daily mathematical tasks with over 100,000 users annually. Survey results of the years 2017 and 2018 with over 8,000 participants were further analyzed. The result of the examination is that persistence, as well as the reparticipation of students strongly depended on prior mathematical knowledge and German abilities. This effect was especially visible when the language of the tasks was difficult and their readability was low.
Keyword(s): MOOC; Persistence; Virtual Learning Environment; Early Adopters; Language Analysis.