"Why MOOC´s didnt work" | Coursera Community
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"Why MOOC´s didnt work"


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Hello community,

i would like to post an article here with the topic "Why MOOC´s didnt work" from the website Inside HigherEd i found these days. The basic for this article was a study by the MIT under the Topic "The Mooc Pivot"

https://www.insidehighered.com/digital-learning/article/2019/01/16/study-offers-data-show-moocs-didnt-achieve-their-goals

Now, what are your views about these article ? Many thanks ☺

19 replies

I think they hit the nail on the head, @Marcus
That is why we see these appearing:

https://www.edx.org/micromasters

Courses recognized by employers for job relevance
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Whether or not MOOCs achieve their goals, according to Class Central, there are now more than 101 million MOOC learners (https://www.class-central.com/moocs-year-in-review-2018). Whatever the pass rate, it's more than those lecturers could have reached in a bricks-and-mortar institution.

I love MOOCs! I love being able to study my topic of choice without having to pay university fees or leaving home.
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I don't know why and how they can claim MOOCs don't work @Marcus . Most people taking MOOCs come there with the intention to learn a topic to understand it better. They are not forced to learn something unlike in schools, they choose to learn a topic they genuinely care about. They can apply it to their lives in various ways too.

For example, I mentioned in the thread how we found Coursera: https://coursera.community/networking-social-discussion-5/how-did-you-learn-about-coursera-254#post1261 that my brother-in-law and his wife used the information they learned on vaccines through the courses they took in Coursera for their children. They were actually traveling at the time due to work in a country where they were not sure of the information given by the local doctors. So, they were so grateful for the information they received from some of the top university experts in the World. I think that's a pretty amazing example to justify how and why MOOCs work, reaching out to many people in different parts of the World with top quality education. 🙂 Surely, there are many other similar positive examples out there if others wish to share as well?
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Same here @Denise. One thing detractors said again and again is, the low completion rates MOOC´s have in their view. Sure, MOOC´s require a high self discipline and self motivation, but it is definitely worth it. On the other side, many universities participate at mooc platforms like coursera etc. In my view, this business is not so bad as somebody want.

It is very nice to hear you have this positive examples ☺
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I’m not sure if MOOC completion rate can be really the main measure for their success @Marcus . @Maryam had a very nice thread earlier relevant to this if you wish to review and see my response based on my experience there: https://coursera.community/study-tips-6/could-mooc-completion-rate-really-represent-mooc-success-177#post876 which might explain some other reasons why some MOOCs remain unfinished, such as a MOOC being high quality and the person being busy to dedicate quality time and postponing it for later, etc. 🙂 In any case, have a wonderful weekend.
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I agree with your opinion and your comment in the other topic @Denise. Completion rates are not the one and only measure, but it is a point every detractors of Mooc´s bring this on the table. As you say in your post you posted the link, many people have many different reasons for not complete. ☺
Thank you@Marcus for bringing us such an interesting article with much potential discand thought.
One issue discussed is low completion rates. The kind of person interested in a MOOC is often someone who has little time to spare and thinks that with such flexibility she or he could finish. Also, and this has been discussed before, if you arevtakkng a course for its information, you might not ever want to complete it, but just learn without quizzes and trsts and assignments. These factors aren’t discussed in the article. Finally, given the tremendous variety of course possias well as the inexpensive or free cost, some people might be choosing coirsesthey simply didn’t like, so why not drop out?
I still think that you can find high quality MOOC courses if you carefully look, by Instructors you would never have been able to learn from. I
also think that some education and opportunities are better than none . To be disappointed that in certain countries people aren’t flocking to take MOOCS therefore they haven’t been successful belittles those who have taken them and are achieving greater success in life as a result. As an example, an education course I mentored had classroom strategies to improve student success. Teachers who took this course were very grateful it existed because there were no Universities nearby or teacher training courses anywhere else. So whoever did take this course was able to make a positive difference in the students they work with.
@Lochcarron ...Micromaster’s Degrees? What will they think of next? 🙃
Imo MOOCs were created to bring useful education to people who don’t have access to ‘real’ education. Of course there are people who just want to gather knowledge, I am one of those, or to refresh some half forgotten knowledge. But to be meaningful for providing job opportunities, you need diplomas, certificates, whatever, that carry weight. That is where the MicroMasters could be used for filling some gaps people may have to get a job.
Teaching of skills like carpentry, brick laying, plumbing is extremely useful and at the moment you can learn a lot of those on YouTube, but that does not give you a qualification. Some courses have been created about animal husbandry etc. , but again, without a real qualification.

@Marcus @Judith
I completely agree with you! I think people’s perception of MOOCs is the issue.
It is not meant to replace a University Education, unless you enroll in a degree program from a University.
But it usually offers education you wouldn’t be able to find locally.
I have also used it as a resource where you sign up, but only read the materials or watch the videos you want to. As such, it is a valuable resource.
In the field of education, teachers are required to keep learning. In my school, we had to prepare a PIP (professional improvement plan) every year , choose an area to improve upon. Here is where Coursera courses were so important. You could expand your knowledge as a result of a MOOC, get ideas and find new strategies to use with your classes. I am sure it is this way in other professions. But the results offer so much to people. Micromasters sound like a good idea! Thanks for sharing this with us.
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@Judith: As i wrote some people have not absolutely the goal to complete, i accept this. For me personally, my goal are in every Course to complete. I would say Mooc´s are a new way of distance education.

@Lochcarron: What means Mooc´s are created to bring education to people who dont have access to "real education" ? Do you think Mooc´s are limited to emerging countries ? I have heard about Micromasters and they are offered mainly by the competitor edX.
No, @Marcus , there are many people across the globe who do not have access to any higher education, even not to secondary, because of distance or finances. Even in rural England
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The article projects a very narrow definition of MOOCs focusing on 'completion', certification and employment prospects. Of course that's important to a minority of participants but the vast majority can and do benefit in many other ways already identified in comments here - but admittedly difficult to measure. It's not well known that the first online course named a MOOC took place in 2008 emphasising open licensing of content and promoting self-directed learning and the reuse and remixing of resources by participants. (See the Wikipedia article on MOOCs). Re-definition of the MOOC, based on the conventional idea of a 'course', happened in 2012 for reasons focused less on learning aspects and more on the needs of universities and commercial organisations. I'm with the UN on free Higher Education for all - is that really a pipe dream?

Higher education shall be made equally accessible to all, on the basis of capacity, by every appropriate means, and in particular by the progressive introduction of free education." - Article 13: International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, 16th December 1966

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@Gordon_L : Do you think - independent of the article - it is a wrong approch to focus on completion, a verified certificate and job prospects ? Is the other way to focus not of completion more effective ?
@Gordon_L Do you have a source for for the number of MOOC participants taking courses not with the goal to complete, get a certificate and better job prospects? I am eager to see that!
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@marcus Self-directed learners focus on how they and fellow learners can benefit from a MOOC so there are many different approaches. One person's learning objective may be 'completion' as defined by the MOOC provider but others will focus on other aspects. MOOCs that climb into boxes and pretend to be traditional courses with a linear progression, inevitably limit their potential. I favour the 'Museum Analogy' where MOOC participants feel free to explore what, where and how they want in whatever way suits them best.
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@Lochcarron MOOC providers tend to be secretive about data for commercial reasons. The only reliable data is probably the number of 'completers' (in the sense of either buying a certificate or becoming elligible to do so) and the total number of registered participants. I understand that the 'completer'/registered ratio is normally very small. Data on other aspects, eg those taking courses only for interest, is harder to come by - the topic is worthy of research.
Ah, @Gordon_L , I thought you had some hard facts to back up the statement that the vast majority of MOOC participants are not taking courses for certificates, job quality improvement or a start of a university study, which would be so interesting, as I have never seen reliable numbers in six/seven years of mentoring and doing courses
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No @Lochcarron - I'm only stating that a minority of participants adhere to the approved path through a MOOC focusing on 'completion', certification etc. The majority of so-called 'dropouts' may well benefit in other ways including job quality improvement or preparation for university study. Yes it would be useful to have reliable numbers.
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@Gordon_L @Lochcarron I haven't seen any data on this either but it's a very interesting question. I've started a poll here to see what people here say their goals are.

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