What is it about?

There are lots of free online courses available (MOOCs) but frequently people who start these courses never finish them. This paper looks at the factors associated with completing or dropping out of this kind of course and collected the views of 379 learners enrolling in a range of different courses, 122 of whom completed their course. The research highlighted the importance of interaction with tutors in encouraging people to complete the course. Course content also played a role in retention via the perceived effectiveness of the material. Once people get half way through a course they are likely to continue to the end.

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Why is it important?

We found that the role of interaction with tutors remains important, despite the online context. This is important because it may be difficult for very large free online courses to provide tutor interaction cost effectively and this may be a limiting factor to the success of such courses. Our research was unique as we were able to obtain the views of those who dropped out the online courses as well as those who complete the course; much previous work has only been able to collect end of course data from those who complete or has had to rely on people's intention to complete the course.

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This page is a summary of: Exploring the factors affecting MOOC retention: A survey study, Computers & Education, July 2016, Elsevier, DOI: 10.1016/j.compedu.2016.03.016.
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