MOOC: how do you avoid failure?

MOOC: how do you avoid failure?

Arriving in their thousands in France in the early 2010s, MOOCs promised to revolutionise individual learning. A few years later, the knowledge offered by the MOOCs is struggling to keep audiences interested over time. What solutions can prevent MOOCs from failing?

MOOCs and the completion rate

The completion rate for a MOOC is an indicator of how many learners completed the distance learning programme. No matter how many sign up for a MOOC, numbers decline as the course progresses, with only 2% to 10% remaining at the end of the course. There are several reasons for this.

  • Varied profiles

Learners have different expectations, and although MOOCs aim to be open to everyone, they are not necessarily suited to all learner profiles, which creates frustration and leads to drop-outs.

  • Expendable courses

Learners sign up to a MOOC in order to learn something in particular, but are not interested in the rest of the course. They pick at the content offered without engaging fully with the course.

  • Lack of interaction

The lack of interaction can play a role in learners dropping out of MOOCs they have signed up for. Videos are no longer enough to capture their attention.

Read more: Creating a MOOC for your employees: what are the benefits?

MOOC: how do you make courses more attractive?

To avoid learner drop-out and encourage students to stick with the course to the end, some universities and other advocates of MOOCs are exploring ways of improving this distance learning method.

Involve the learners more

To make a MOOC more engaging, one of the most effective methods is to involve learners directly in the learning process by asking them to carry out concrete, collective projects such as practicals. Their work and effort are rewarded, team spirit is established and the learners are brought closer together.

Organise more live meet-ups

Interaction is at the heart of this idea for improving MOOCs. Generally offered in the form of video, audio or text materials, MOOCs are increasingly struggling to attract learners who will stay the distance. To reduce the MOOC drop-out rate, exchanges between learners and teachers are encouraged, and between learners themselves. These exchanges can take a variety of forms:

  • Live video, like a virtual class in which the teacher looks back at more difficult areas of the course and answers web users’ questions.
  • Physical meet-ups between learners, including the teacher if possible, during the course.
  • An alternative that is less instantaneous but just as relevant is to provide forums and other online platforms. The learners ask questions and the teacher responds online.

Choose your teachers carefully

One of the parameters influencing the completion rate of a MOOC is none other than the teacher delivering the course. Learners are more likely to stick with a course given by a charismatic teacher, even if the subject of the MOOC does not immediately grab their full attention. Apart from the content of the course, it is essential to choose a skilful, charismatic teacher who is an expert in their field and whose knowledge will be a motivating factor for learners.

Read more: How do you create an interactive online training course?
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