Top 10 reasons for low MOOC completion rates

From staff reports
June 14th, 2013

Many students complained about interaction with MOOC peers.

Massive open online course (MOOC) completion rates hover around 7 percent worldwide, and beyond stringing criticism from MOOC skeptics in higher education, there’s not much documentation for why so few students complete the classes.

Open Culture, a website documenting the growth of MOOCs, recently published a list of the most common reasons for dropping out of MOOCs before the courses were finished, revealing a few telling tidbits about potential shortcomings for MOOC providers.

Katy Jordan, an Open University doctoral student who conducted research into web-based academic social networks, said in May that her examination of 29 MOOC platforms showed that only 7 percent of people who signed up for courses actually completed those courses.

The highest completion rate found in Jordan’s research was from a Swiss-based course in which 19 percent of students finished the class.

As Open Culture pointed out in their compiling of the top-10 reasons students dropped out of MOOCs, “the completion rates aren’t so much a problem for you; they’re more a problem for the MOOC providers and their business models.”

1) Completing MOOCs takes too much time: Many respondents said watching online lectures and completing homework assignments was simply too much to incorporate into their schedules.

2) MOOCs assume students are well informed: Many complaints centered around an assumed “knowledge base” that was often essential to understanding the course material.

3) Some MOOCs were too easy: Students found these MOOCs lacking in challenging material, with some literature courses feeling “like a glorified book club.”

See Page 2 for the rest of the Top 10…

Add your opinion to the discussion.