Why the high dropout rate for MOOCs?


Recently MIT Technology review published a scathing review of MOOC technology. They claimed that almost 90% of the people who sign up for a Massive Online Open Course (MOOC) never finish the course. The analogy is that of a bookshelf. Many people pick up a book, flip through few pages and put it back. Well, I have done that too. The waning interest in MOOCs and apparent lack of success is attributed to the limited nuanced interaction as in a classroom.

MIT may have touched upon something with the “nuanced” part of the classroom interaction. In a traditional MOOC environment a student simply downloads a video at will and that’s the end of it. If a student is highly motivated then this system works fine. I have not done any research on it but would doubt more than a small percentage of students are that motivated.

So, what is the solution…

Classle has adopted a different approach. Courses are scheduled for a fixed duration where a group of students take it together. They are supported/nudged (gently) by a course facilitator and their questions are answered by subject matter experts. All this is aided by a community around the course with plenty of reference and other supporting (like quizzes, projects) material.

Although, it may never be able to replace a teacher in the classroom but it comes close. May be this is the solution we were looking for.

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