The MOOC dropout rate has been one of the technology’s largest obstacles in achieving mainstream acceptance and accreditation. According to Open Culture, a website documenting the growth of MOOCs, the highest completion rate for a MOOC as of June 2013 was 19 percent. Many MOOCs struggle to even reach a rate of 10 percent.

The reasons for the low retention vary, but, according to Open Culture, they include the length of time the courses take the complete, poor course design, and an assumption that MOOC students are too well-informed.

Indeed, several studies have found that the majority of those who complete MOOCs are students who already have degrees. It was for this reason that Congressman Rubén Hinojosa, the ranking member of the Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training, said in July that MOOCs were not a good fit for community colleges. Some are now saying the same thing about Obama’s new education plan.

Schroeder said Obama’s plan only references MOOCs as part of a larger push for innovation.

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