MOOC was termed as a game-changer when it first came to be of existence. While many people believed it would change the face of traditional education, some argued that it was just a trend that would fade in a few years. Is it coming true? Although MOOCs have seen an increasing amount of dropouts, they need to return to their former glory.

Some quick facts

The concept of MOOC has been around for some time now. The term MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses, was first used in 2008. It was used to mention a course offered by Canada’s University of Manitoba (Extension division). It was first termed to introduce the course on Connectivism and Connective Knowledge (CK08). The course was designed by Dave Cornier, George Siemens, and Stephen Downes. It was the start of a revolution.

What’s wrong now?

Here are some reasons why MOOCs are not working anymore:

  • Lack of interaction: Unlike traditional classes, learners get no chance to interact with either the educators or fellow learners. It results in a lot of confusion.
  • Compromised Integrity: Without any kind of personal attention from the educators, the students find it easier to plagiarise fellow learner’s works. The integrity of original works by learners is thus compromised, with no help coming from any quarter.
  • Low course completion rates: MOOCs have a high number of dropouts. The reasons vary. Only 10% of MOOC registrants complete their course. If the classes are free, and they have access to study material, why are the learners not completing their courses? The main reason seems to be the lack of interactions, as mentioned earlier. Since there is no live-instruction to help throughout the class, students do not stick around.

Some pointers to redefine MOOCs’ structure

  • Personalized Content: MOOCs could introduce customized content that allows the learner to clear their doubts. It would also help them set their learning goals, and a customized deadline could help them grow.
  • Peer Feedback: If MOOCs introduces a way where the learners could receive and provide help to fellow learners to study, it could work. Quality feedback from their peers is another way to succeed.
  • Study material restructuring: Since the format of MOOCs allow the learner to access study materials 24/7, the educators should find a way to make the course interactive. Aside from pre-recorded videos, course designers should try and have a few live sessions, where students can clear their doubts.
  • Social media connection: Many MOOC providers have forums within the platform for students to use to interact with one another and teachers. However, in the current era of social media dominance, course creators can, perhaps, form a connection with and among students using social media.

Implementation of these suggestions may sound like a lot of effort. However, if it helps restore popularity, the effort will be well worth it.