A great article by Todd Tauber The dirty little secret of online learning: Students are bored and dropping out discusses the recent over-hyped and under-completed massive online courses.

He offers a couple reasons for their failure and concludes that future IS bright with increased funding and development!



So why are all these students falling asleep, virtually, in their digital classes? Mainly because the people putting education online are still thinking in terms of classrooms. And despite incorporating “decades of research on how students learn best”, the world has changed a lot in just the last few years.


 learning has to fit in between life and work. In a recent Duke University survey of MOOC students, for example, the most commonly cited barrier to completion was “lack of time/amount of time required.” Yet most of today’s online courses basically consist of reading assignments, lecture videos, homework problems and quizzes.


 The National Science Foundation, for example, is funding a study by MIT researchers to understand exactly why the vast majority of MOOC students don’t make it to the finish line. Carnegie Mellon University, meanwhile, is spending $500,000 to $1 million to create each of 15 new courses based on up-to-date research into how adults learn online. And investments in next generation adaptive learning technologies are surging.

Also mentioned is the important need to think about MOBILE LEARNING (#mLearning) and how to properly engage students.

The rush to create online courses has, in many cases simply meant “classroom online” and, it doesn’t work. New pedagogies have to be utilized to interface with the technologies in ways that engage today’s busy and active learner. The   promise of the future is there…just not yet.

A great article read the original at:  QZ.com

About kevin

A long-time technology enthusiast who, in the mid 80's, thought the internet might be something that would catch-on, so he taught himself programming. That started him on a very satisfying road as a course developer, trainer, online teacher and elearning evangelist. Thirty years later, he fancies himself to be a "futurist" and "thought leader".... those thoughts are more about learning that doesn't involve expensive technology and a vision of the future that makes education more critical than ever! More information at: http://kevincorbett.com/who-is-kevin-corbett/

5 Responses to “MBOOC: Massively Boring Open Online Learning”

  1. Ruben

    Kevin: Great summary of the issues MOOCs are currently facing. I think its great that MOOCs are changing the perception that online education has but they do require some work before they can truly leverage everything that our current technology can offer. I would love to see more MOOCs break down courses into “chunks” that can be easily digested while waiting for your coffee in Starbucks or something similar.

  2. Kevin Corbett

    Thank you for your comment Ruben. I think the competition will make the courses better. That they’re free and easily available should bring some understanding that there will be some natural attrition due to lack of investment and ease of withdraw/disengagement. I see there are some Coursera courses that are much shorter in duration, so maybe your “chunks” are coming fast! 🙂

  3. Ryan Tracey

    Thanks for sharing these excellent links, Kevin.
    I think though that education professionals are overly concerned about mooc completion rates, and I think that’s because we think of them in the same way as we think of traditional college courses.
    If, instead, we think of a mooc as a form of informal learning, then its completion rate becomes a moot point.

  4. Kevin Corbett

    I agree Ryan. I also think because they’re free, there’s little tying people to completion because it’s easy to “stop by and look”. The low risk/low threat nature of a free MOOC shouldn’t necessarily be measured by completion b/c we don’t the incentives for the enrollments.

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  1. MBOOC:大规模烦人的开放在线课程 « 教育技术自留地-焦建利的博客

    […] 另外一位持类似看法的学者是Kevin Corbett,他在自己的网站上撰写了一篇文章,题目叫《MBOOC:大规模烦人的开放在线课程》(MBOOC: Massively Boring Open Online Learning), […]