Could MOOC completion rate really represent MOOC success? | Coursera Community
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Could MOOC completion rate really represent MOOC success?


Hello everyone,

It is reported that MOOC completion rates across various platforms are not significant. It is estimated that 5 to 10 percent of active participants do proceed to complete MOOCs. Some learners complete one or more modules of their courses, leaving out the rest. It was once believed that the best criterion for measuring MOOC success is MOOC completion rate. Some have proposed new models for measuring success rate recently, though.


I would love to hear your ideas. Do you typically complete every MOOC you take? Have you ever taken a course just for the sake of benefiting from a portion of its material without the intention of actually completing it? Could it really mean that the MOOC was not successful? How would you define a successful MOOC? 🙂

30 replies

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Hello
usually I like study new topics related to my field, sometimes I learn some and sometimes I finish the course
I see successful MOOC when teachers explain well and make good assignments related to what we studied on course
@Maryam

It depends on why you take MOOCs. If you want a certificate, you will complete of course. As the value of certificates is unclear I assume many people don’t go for it.
I know many people who intensely dislike PRAs as the don’t feel their ‘peers’ are properly qualified to grade them. So, they take the quizzes to gauge their understanding of the material, accumulate the knowledge they want and then leave.

Do you have data about the different platforms? Is completion more frequent on FutureLearn, for example, where there are no tests or PRAs?
Hello
usually I like study new topics related to my field, sometimes I learn some and sometimes I finish the course
I see successful MOOC when teachers explain well and make good assignments related to what we studied on course


@king.aloush, I agree with you. Well-developed assignments could be a key factor in encouraging learners to move toward finishing a course. Thanks for your participation.
@Maryam

It depends on why you take MOOCs. If you want a certificate, you will complete of course. As the value of certificates is unclear I assume many people don’t go for it.
I know many people who intensely dislike PRAs as the don’t feel their ‘peers’ are properly qualified to grade them. So, they take the quizzes to gauge their understanding of the material, accumulate the knowledge they want and then leave.

@Lochcarron, thanks for your input. You highlighted an important aspect. I agree that some types of assignments may put obstacles in the way of learners. Peer-graded assignment could be one of them. Some learners might not feel comfortable with them for several reasons while others might dislike quizzes. I also believe there should be some sort of significant relationship between assessment type and completion rate.

@Maryam
Do you have data about the different platforms? Is completion more frequent on FutureLearn, for example, where there are no tests or PRAs?


Unfortunately, I don’t have access to that data. Perhaps MOOC platforms are reluctant to publish that sort of data for public use.
@Maryam

You may find this interesting

The 2018 OpenupEd Trend Report on MOOCs (https://www.openuped.eu/images/Publications/The_2018_OpenupEd_trend_report_on_MOOCs.pdf)
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@king.aloush, I agree with you. Well-developed assignments could be a key factor in encouraging learners to move toward finishing a course. Thanks for your participation.

@Maryam
You are welcome 🙂
@Maryam , fascinating subject for discussion! I agree that it all depends on why someone is taking a course. At this point in my life, I am interested in learning for personal growth and pleasure. If I take a MOOC it is audited so I don’t need to do assignments .
I think a good way of judging whether a course is effective is through the discussion forums. They should be lively, reflect what is being learned and show interest of the subject. This means people are thinking and growing.
Thanks, @Lochcarron. I'll take a look at this as soon as I can.
@Maryam , fascinating subject for discussion! I agree that it all depends on why someone is taking a course. At this point in my life, I am interested in learning for personal growth and pleasure. If I take a MOOC it is audited so I don’t need to do assignments .
I think a good way of judging whether a course is effective is through the discussion forums. They should be lively, reflect what is being learned and show interest of the subject. This means people are thinking and growing.


@Judith, thanks for sharing your valuable insights. Yes, retired learners may not be interested in getting course certificates. If they leave their courses unfinished, that does not necessarily indicate that those courses were unsuccessful. It is great that you highlighted the importance of discussion forums as well.
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Hello!

I'm new in the Community...


I want to know about this subject... How the MOOC are developing in the world? Is exists Statistics about?

I will learn more in order to be communicated with the Community...

Greetings to all!
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Thank you @Maryam for starting this highly relevant topic to all of us. Yes, I agree it would depend on why we take the course. Following the conversation earlier in another thread sometimes, the person might simply be busy to complete the course they really wanted to. I completed most of the courses I signed up for but some of them I had to leave because I was not happy with their quality or the quizzes and/or assignments had many technical problems that I was not able to spare the time for.

However, there were a few others that I had to withdraw and put on shelf because they really required quality time to absorb the material and I have not managed to give the time they need. When you have many other things in life to prioritize, I guess I had to put them "for later" at the moment. I really do hope to get back to them as soon as possible. I am aware of a few other students like me.

This would not mean that those particular courses were unsuccessful. On the contrary, they were too good to deserve the good quality time from serious but busy learners. 🙂
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Hi all the members!


In my experience as student many years and seeing the reality of this world, is important to collect and project these data, in order to be ready on this paradigm change. Probably our generation will not see about the split that comes, but we are in the way.

In my opinion, between the traditional way to give education at all the levels and the MOOC (Massive Online Open Courses), a division will come where both concepts catch the Education Market.

We can compare these two systems, looking for advantages and disadvantages; fortresses and weaknesses, of each one of those offers to the educational requirements and infer what is the Tendency of each one.

In Example:

Only when we have a demographic grow and not enough teachers;
The distances are so long for the students;
The money is not enough to pay the education;
No place enough in the classrooms.
All this above must be considered and the growing up quality, and satisfied demands by the MOOC in a cost/benefit relation;
The massive Internet access

Also, the social benefit that impacts each one of these educational concepts,
Really can be a great challenge for us investigate!


How many institutions and which, would be the most interested that this occurs?

Best regards!
@Denise, thank you for introducing one more reason for leaving off courses so well. Indeed, a busy person may not find it easy to squeeze completing a course into their schedule. It would depend on the subject, of course. If the person really feels the need to learn that particular subject, she/he would inevitably prioritize that.
@Chris_2018_Vienna, welcome to the community! Thank you for sharing your experience with us. Your points regarding advantages and disadvantages are so valid. We recently discussed the advantages of MOOC-based degrees here if you wish to reflect your thoughts on that aspect too:
MOOC-Based Degree vs. Other Online Degrees


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Thanks Maryam!

I am in the way to participate depending on my free time. In the future will be more than today.

Naturally, is many opinions about this matter you proposed and also information related on that can be evaluated, in order to get the Reality.

Advantages and disadvantages about that, told here, are several realities depending on the points of view of someone, but this diverse gives the possibility to obtain a realistic vision and decide...

Thanks, Judith too!

Meanwhile, you argue that is much better to have contact while you study with classmates, professors, etc
I think that is true. But what do you think about a combination of these ways?

Thanks and kind regards!
@Chris_2018_Vienna , many institutions require that you do both distance learning and then need to appear in person as well. You would study online, but need to attend a few workshops so you get the personal amd interactive experience as well. I once took a course online where you had to appear in person to take the final exam. It’s a wonderful idea, if it’s possible. Unfortunately, many people take MOOCs because they cannot get to an institution, living far away or having time constraints, so it probably would be more detrimental than helpful. What do you think?
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Exately
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Sorry.. Something wrong...
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Right now is coming the light...

Judith...

Yes! You are right...

The combination of all these, will be the future...
Not only is difficult to go in a place to receive the instruction...or the education... means that, the contact the persons, Feedback, and many things not defined, but these exist are really vita in this process...

But we are in the right way! An example is Coursera... you know? In a few years more, this will be a fact.

Best Regards!
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I apologize: "vita" please change by "vital"

Bye!
Thanks Maryam!

I am in the way to participate depending on my free time. In the future will be more than today.


That is great, Chris. Please feel free to participate in the discussions whenever you have enough time.
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I will write from my personal experience.

I have finished all the courses that I found interesting. For example, I started learning Scala, using the 1 week frre trial, but on the 3rd day I understood that it wasn't for me. Why? I don't know. Maybe because I don't like Java.

I have finished the Deep Learning Specialization in 6 days, because I didn't want to stop the flow of the lectures. Also that period of time I was sick in bed and couldn't do much. Good timing, don't you agree?

After the webinar with Google @Claire uploaded a link that we could use in order to take on course, from Google, for the 1st month free. That's how I started my 2nd specialization Machine Learning with TensorFlow on Google Cloud Platform, and finished it in 12 days. Their courses also go by very easily!

So for me, you will finish the course that you've started only if it's good for you. If you find it interesting every day, every hour, every module of the course.
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Dear @Maryam,

Thank you for this topic. I work as a professional in MOOC creation. Let me share the latest insights from our perspective at Leiden University that unfortunately does not stop journalists from repeating "but the retentions rate are low, so we must conclude MOOCs are a failure."

There are a couple of things going on that make sure that MOOC completion is low:
  • People sign up out of interest, but life intervenes. Result: only aprox 50% of people who sign up even bother to click even one course item at the start of a course
  • Learners might have a different motivation to join than completing the course, like wanting to just look i nside, sample a bit of the course first, or doing a specific module, or just wanting to read up on the bibliography. Also do not underestimate the number of people who are watching a competitor and learn from that how to improve their own courses.
  • Again, during the course life intervenes, and people's attention wanders and they quit. There are no consequences to this, unlike a real life situation where you decide to quit a course.
  • and yes, there are instances where a course can substantiable improve itself and thus become better.
The question is, does it matter? Is MOOC completion the ultimate succes factor of a course?

At Leiden University we have rejected this zero sum definition of MOOC success. What we try to measure is the impact of a course, whether that is by completion, sold certificates or specific material which is then used and mentioned outside of the course. What personal stories do learners tell about the impact a course has on their life? In how many ways can we use the course material on campus, including the learner stories and additional material that learners add to the experience.

Kind Regards,

Tanja
Community Manager Leiden University

I have finished the Deep Learning Specialization in 6 days, because I didn't want to stop the flow of the lectures. Also that period of time I was sick in bed and couldn't do much. Good timing, don't you agree?

Wow! You have already completed some wonderful Coursera courses, @Elias_P. Thank you for letting us know about your experience. You are a really enthusiastic Courserian.
Hi @TanjadeBie. So glad to meet you! I appreciate your participation in this discussion. Your valuable insights enabled me to look at this issue from the perspective of a partner/course creator more intelligibly.
Learners may take a course to study a certain section or subject covered in that particular course. When they get what they were looking for, the course may be left incomplete. So, I think it is not fair to tag the course as an "unsuccessful" MOOC. In a sense, some courses can be compared to reference books. You are never expected to read the whole material of a reference book.

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