Does It Matter That Most ‘MOOC’ Students Drop The Online Courses? | State Impact

This article presents several perspectives on MOOC attrition rates - what do they signify? Is a 95% dropout rate really bad? When referring to traditional, brick-and-mortar college classes, what can we accurately compare a MOOC dropout rate to?

2 comments

People are just curious when it is free. They just click. Marketers like that. And they mislead people saying 100,000 people enrolled .


If they charge only $ 10 per course thet real registration is only 5,000 which is 5 % of the original number and finishers are 4,000 .


Please stop misleading people .


GOOD MOOCs are good even at 1,000 students if fee is $ 100


at 10,000 students fee can be only $ 10 .


Think of 10 semester same course is delivered .

If we were to count all the potential students qualified or not who would "like" to take a university level course, free or for $10, it's very likely the response would be large with a large withdrawal rate to match. 

Instead of looking at withdrawal numbers around 95% as a failure of the MOOC model we might want to look at the current higher education model and note that turn-away numbers are also quite large. We don't count every potential student who didn't get past admission standards as a failure of a university do we? Why not? Aren't these people applying a significant indication of the value people hold for education? 

If we look at the MOOC offerings as an open market in educational products we might be able to come up with interesting numbers. People taking on more than they can handle is well known to admission councillors and we might account up 50% of the withdrawals to being too enthusiastic. Another portion has to be the lack of reward for effort discouragement we all feel for working hard for no recognition (except a cheesy badge). The course could be hard to follow or just dull when presented to a single person audience. 

To me, the second worst indicator would be that after years of exposure to education, students who we thought were loyal and enthusiastic consumers of our best performances were really there because we made them. Worst would be that "the system" has beaten the self-directed, curious and originally autonomous learner out of students and left us a bunch of helpless slackers. 

At this year's MOOC style "First Steps into Learning and Teaching in Higher Education" (#FSLT13) course at Oxford Brooks a few of us Connectivist MOOC'rs joined others to act as "expert participants" which role we are still trying to define. My notion of what I attempted to do was act as a helper in the discussion areas to keep participants from becoming those lost students online study is famous for. After our debriefing there might be more to say about this kind of buddy system—or whatever it becomes. If anyone else has worked on this type of social support idea it would be nice to hear about it. 

Scott