The study discussed in this paper had two principal objectives. The first objective was to stimulate engagement of participants in a virtual learning environment through the invitation to write an application essay on their motivation to be part of the learning experience. This first experience presented a positive reaction in terms of participation in a Massive Open Online Course (MOOCs). The second objective within a subset of the participants in the study was to evaluate the importance of using visual learning analytics to improve and enhance interaction in learning ecosystems, where the participant plays a main role and a visual aid could provide to the teachers different mental models and early alerts related to change of patterns or really low participation. For this, the work presents an analysis of the interaction developed between students and tutors in several types of forums implemented in a virtual course: presentation, doubts, debate, reflection, analysis. Finally, authors performed a comparative study using data and results gathered over two editions in an A/B testing configuration. The results in this study provide evidence that despite the inherent openness behind MOOCs, participants should be encouraged to have a commitment to finish the courses and the standalone discussion forums will not be the only element to consider. In fact the Social Network Analysis will play an important role in a learning ecosystem.