How to Make MOOCs succeed – boosting completion rates

A simple set of recommendations

  1. Change the course approach to asynchronous based learning – if you must have lock-downs – i.e. you cannot go to step B before Step A – you can still have a set of modules (Five to 10 minutes max) that the student can go into and apply the information using scenario based learning
  2. Utilize WIFM. If the learner completes the course and receives a certificate – then at the workplace it means something. Perhaps a benefit to their professional development/growth. Or it applies to their continuing education credits in an association or whatever they are doing that requires CEUs. Maybe it can apply to the courses they are taking or required to take via your own LMS (if your business has one).
  3. If you are going to offer credits tie it into a program, but remove the standards of “applying” that currently is in place.  Charge a fee if you must, but make it realistic and not the same as in the classroom or attending the university. Remove the financial aid aspect by making it affordable.
  4. Re-train the instructors/faculty. This means changing the way they think in terms of online learning. It is not the same as classroom based and as such, the way they create the courses does not apply.
  5. Tie into universities or schools that offer instructional design or instructional technology degrees. These people know how to create courses and could help in creating those ABLs you need. Best of all, they need the experience which means they will likely do it for free.  There are plenty of universities out there that offer these degrees.  If you want to go even more basic, check out associations who have instructional design folks or even e-learning developers.  You might be surprised how many will help.
  6. Think out of the box. I know it is stretch, but school house learning for the 1700′s doesn’t work online. It never has and never will.
  7. Add interactivity. Seems simple enough right? But sadly it rarely shows up in higher education online courses. This means more than social. If you want basics add some gamification.
  8. Remove start and completion dates. Remove assignments and projects. The people taking MOOCs are doing it on their own time, let’s not forget that.

Bottom Line

Regardless of what you say or believe, MOOCs are not working. Completion rates are poor, courses are boring, and the true premise of online learning is not being used.

Until higher education sees this, as corporate already does, then it will continue to fail.

As they say, a pig dressed up in the latest fashion (okay, I said that) is still a pig.

And right now, so are MOOCs.

But they are not a pig, rather they are a dud.

For all learners.


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