Low MOOC Completion Rate

According to an article, written by Chris Parr for Times Higher Education, the average completion rate for MOOCs is less than 7%.

Based on doctoral student Katy Jordan’s personal research on MOOCs and the completion rate for such courses, she discovered that an average of 6.8% of students completed the entirety of a course. This research included 29 courses ranging from “Functional Programming Principles in Scala” to “A History of the World since 1300”.

Jordan defines “completion” as when someone earns a certificate, showing that they legitimately “passed” the course. She also explains that this statistic can help indicate how successful courses are, probably by how well they are able to retain high student numbers in order to remain labeled as a “massive” course.

Jordan makes an interesting claim, stating her disagreement that  “completion rates are entirely meaningless.” Even though people who do sign up for MOOCs might not have the intention of completing the course, the 6.8% statistic could be illustrative, not only of the structure or benefits of MOOCs in general, but maybe also of people’s perception and/or attitudes about education, acquiring skills, and/or learning as a whole. This could possibly lead into a much larger discussion about higher education, with regards to skill acquisition, job markets, or the monetary incentives given to those who have highly demanded skills and expertise.


For more information about this topic, please click here for the article.