Reading ability plays an important role in human life in this modern age. With the rapid advancement of science and technology, humans have to renew their knowledge and skills acquired through reading. However, the ability to acquire reading skill varied among people. Some of them are fluent while others require their own pace to understand and accomplish reading skills. Statistics from the Ministry of Education found that the literacy level of Malaysians should not be appreciated if compared to the reading culture of the people in developing countries such as Japan (National Library of Malaysia, 2007). Based on the report of reading habits by (UNESCO, 2006) and (Library of Malaysia, 2006), Malaysians read two books a year, as compared to just two pages a year in 1984. However, research conducted by (Library of Malaysia, 2015) found that the number of books read by Malaysians on average increased from 2 to 15 books a year. Also, statistics by the Malaysian Youth Index Index (IYRES) (Outcome Evaluation of Malaysian Youth Index (IBM’16), 2016) shows that from 2015 to 2017, Malaysian youths spend 1 - 2 hours a day to read books including magazines and newspapers. This finding shows that Malaysia’s curriculum or reading literacy indicators in 2017 is at a satisfactory level compared to the previous year.
(Mechener, 1995) states that the Quran is the most widely read book in the world. The Qirā’āt is generally understood as the manner of the pronunciation of the Quran during recitation. As learning Quranic recitation or Qirā’āt is quite a complex process, the learning process usually requires guidance by a teacher or coach who is well-versed in the field of study. The current practice of studying Qirā’āt is done through traditional ways of learning using the face-to-face method (Czerepinski & Swayd, 2016). It is typically learned through individual extensive practice sessions with a teacher who listens to the learner’s recitation, identifies recitation errors, and instructs the trainee with the proper corrections (called talaqqi and musyafahah in Arabic). Therefore, both students and teachers need to be at the same location and time during the lessons (Qadi & Ghani, 2003). This process of learning Qirā’āt requires extensive training and high levels of time consumption as each of the Qirā’āt types has their own rules of recitations and variations (Al-Suyuti & Din, 2005).
2.1. The Concept of Reading
Reading is one of the sources of knowledge and the foundation of self-formation towards acquiring knowledge (Baroody, Alison, & Diamond, 2012; Carron & Bordia, 1985; Kadir, 2011). Reading skills are defined as the ability of someone to visualize the visual form, recognize the letters and pronounce the vocals, read and understand the words, sentences and paragraphs and also links between forms with sound and through experience as well as able to interpret the meaning (Curriculum Development Center, Minister of Education, 1982; Jamian, 2011; Othman, 2007). The purpose of reading is to understand texts and textual content that give readers the meaning (Mohd@Man, 2005; Othman, 2005). Reading comprehension depends on the combination of language knowledge, cognitive style, and reading experience, and the basic skills of this reading need to be strengthened before being taught to read directly. Mastering the reading skills related to the learning autonomy allows reader to freely decide their pace in reading (Morris, Wu, & Finnegan, 2005). In other words, allowing the reader to cater for different pace of reading skills is important to increase readers’ understanding or increase level of competency in reading.
2.2. Quranic Recitation (Qirā’āt)
Historically, Quranic education has been reported to be the first type of education in Islamic history, in which memorizing the Quranwas aimed in keeping the number of mutawatir (more than three) members to memorize the Quran to avoid the allegations of Quranic misleads (Kelly, 2012). The ability to read the Quran is a crucial element in ensuring the recitations convey the accurate meaning Qirā’āt is defined as a knowledge of Quranic pronunciations as well as the differences that are attributed to its carriers (Al-Suyuti, 1987). Qirā’āt is a procedural knowledge or practice of agreed or disputed Quranic words that are pledged to the bearer.
2.3. Background of Qirā’āt Learning
Previous studies have recommended the presence of experienced teachers or scholars, to ensure that the understanding does not deviate from the true meanings of the Holy book. The objective of Qirā’āt learning is to preserve from any recitation mistakes or to word pronunciations of Quranic verses, to maintain the original meaning of the verse, to know the reading of the leaders of Qirā’āt and to distinguish between acceptable and unacceptable reading approaches. Previous scholars have indicated that there are six approaches in leaning Qirā’āt based on the manhaj of Prophet Muhammad (Diah & Zin, 2013; Bidin et al., 2011);
· Talaqqi (To recite the Quran, student sitting in front of the teacher directly while listening to the lectures delivered via face-to-face delivery. In the talaqqi method language and communication skills plays an important role, and thus given priority (Nor Adha, 2013);
· Musyafahah (students first listen to the teacher and then repeat the reading before teacher;
· Tasmi’ (students memorize and recite in front of the teacher);
· Tikrar (students read repeatedly for error reduction and fluency);
· Muraja’ah (memorization practice);
· Tadarus (recite loudly and others listening with a focus) to correct errors if any, either between the student and the teacher or between the student and another student.
Among these six methods, talaqqi and musyafahah methods were also practiced and recognized by the pious predecessors and scholars as the best way of learning the Quran (Norasikin et al., 2005; Hashim & Tamuri, 2012). This method is important for ensuring the continuous credentialson the chain of individuals experts connected to the Quran recitation (sanad) from Prophet Muhammad and authenticate the recitation of the Quran (Amin, 2012). This is due to the fact that there are a number of Quranic words that have different pronunciations as compared to their written forms. These words cannot be learned and recited by only referring to their writings in the mushaf, but to learn via talaqqi musyafahah with a qualified teacher (Jaafar@Ramli, Engkizar, & Hamzah, 2017; Yusof, Razali, Omar, Abdelgelil, & Hamzah, 2018) emphasized that there is no specific approach to learn Qirā’āt and rather teacher-dependent.
Previous research has indicated that there are several issues in learning about Quranic recitations. The main issue that has been reported is that current practices of face-to-face learning are problematic with large groups of learners, as individualized learning sessions cannot be conducted (Gürsula & Keser, 2009). In addition, there is also the issue of pace of learning in which some learners require higher levels of learning times are compared to others (Anderson, Annand, & Wark, 2005). In other words, slow learners require more time on learning while fast learners require less time.
A learning environment that potentially solves these issues is massive open online courses (MOOCs). MOOCs have been reported to help create a “tutor-like” learning space (Adams, Yin, Vargas Madriz, & Mullen, 2014). They further reported that the scenario creates a learning sphere between students and teachers (Nordin, Norman, & Hamdan, 2018; Anderson, Annand, & Wark, 2005). In the context of Qirā’āt learning, MOOCs could provide two types of experiences, both synchronous and asynchronous. In asynchronous mode, pre-recorded online videos in MOOCs, with tutors as talking-heads, could re-create a “tutor-like” or a musyafahah (students first listen to the teacher and then repeat the reading before teacher) experience (Rozali, Jasmi, & Yusoff, 2012; Burd, Smith, & Reisman, 2015). In synchronous mode, online teachers could implement the talaqqi approach with a larger group of online students. The tasmi’ (students memorize and recite to the teacher) and tikrar (students read repeatedly for error reduction and fluency) can be done via video recordings or synchronous sessions via MOOCs (Andersen, Na-songkhla, Hasse, Nordin, & Norman, 2018; Nordin, Norman, & Embi, 2015). The tadarus (recite loudly and others listening with a focus) could be also done both synchronously via group live chats, and asynchronously via online forums (Dogan, Norman, Alrobai, Jiang, Nordin, & Adnan, 2019; Adnan & Ritzhaupt, 2018; Kim, 2016; Anderson, 2013; Margaryan, Bianco, & Littlejohn, 2015; Md Khudzari, Yusoff, & Hamzah, 2013).
Therefore, this study emphasized on the aim to achieve these research objectives:
· To determine elements of MOOC learning content for Qirā’āt learning; and
· To determine elements of MOOC learning activities for Qirā’āt learning.
The participants of this study were 15 experts from various field of studies. They consisted of 8 subject matter experts (Qirā’āt teaching and learning), 4 instructional designers, and 3 curriculum developers.
3.2. Data Collection and Analysis Procedures
Focus group discussion (FGD) was selected due to the qualitative method of inquiry gathering data (Morgan, 1996). In the study, a moderator was selected to lead the discussion on Qirā’āt teaching and learning with a panel of experts (i.e. 15 experts) (Wong, 2008). The implementation implemented four phases which included (Wilkinson, 1998, 1999): 1) research design; 2) data collection; 3) analysis; and 4) reporting of results.
Before FGD was conducted, empirical studies related to Qirā’āt studies from academic literature repositories were gathered. During the FGD session, the experts reviewed and classified elements and constructs into relevant sections and subsections. After that, experts determined the Qirā’āt elements to be implemented in the development of a MOOC for Qirā’āt learning. The findings of the discussions were then analyzed using thematic analysis (Figure 1).
4. Results and Findings
4.1. Elements of Qirā’āt Learning Framework
The results indicate various construct proposed based on the literature reviewed. The constructs were classified into: 1) techniques of learning Qirā’āt; 2) content of manhaj Qirā’āt and 3) learning activities.
Based on Table 1 from construct above all the techniques of learning Qirā’āt were accepted by the experts, but only talaqqi, musyafahah and murajaah were viewed as suitable for MOOC development.
Based on Table 2, all items for the manhaj of Qirā’āt were accepted by experts and all items were to be used in developing the MOOC for Qirā’āt learning.
In terms of learning activities in MOOCs for Qirā’āt learning, experts agreed
Figure 1. Focus Group Discussion FGD procedure.
Table 1. Techniques of learning Qirā’āt.
that five Qirā’āt activities were suitable in the development of a MOOC. Three items were also added, which were; slide show, mind map and simulation (Table 3).
4.2. Prototype of a MOOC for Qirā’āt Learning Based on the Developed Framework
Based on the FGD discussion and developed framework, a prototype of a MOOC for Qirā’āt learning was developed. Figure 2 shows the sharing information feature, while Figure 3 shows the manhaj learning section (where video files are available for learning). Here, in Figure 3, the video consists of Quranic recitations for manhaj Basmallah. The videos describe the differences of Quranic recitations of Imam Qirā’āt.
Table 2. Learning content for Manhaj Qirā’āt in a MOOC for Qirā’āt learning.
Table 3. Learning activities in a MOOC for Qirā’āt learning.
Figure 2. The sharing information feature in the MOOC for Qirā’āt learning prototype.
Figure 3. Manhaj learning page in the MOOC for Qirā’āt learning prototype.
The study has produced a framework for MOOC development in Qirā’āt learning using the focus group discussion technique. The constructs of framework were: 1) five techniques of learning Qirā’āt; 2) 18 elements of learning content of manhaj Qirā’āt for MOOC development in Qirā’āt learning; and 3) eight learning activities for MOOC development in Qirā’āt learning. The framework developed could potentially solve current issues of Quranic recitations such as large groups learning and pace of learning. In sum, it is to be hoped that the framework developed could be used for educators and researchers interested in development of MOOCs for Qirā’āt learning.
This research is funded by the Translational MRUN Rakan-RU Program Grant (Grant no. MRUN-RAKAN RU-2019-003/2) and Dana Pecutan Penerbitan FPend (grant no. PP-FPEND-2019).
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