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Top 10 reasons for low MOOC completion rates

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…

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