Colin Charles Agenda

Online courses dropout rate & future of open education

via California to Give Web Courses a Big Trial:

The program is an attempt to overcome the biggest failure of open online courses today — their 90 percent dropout rate.

Wow. 90% as a dropout rate from online courses is insane.

I’ve published open content since 2004, and have always wondered about the idea of taking it further for online education. I remember back in 2004 or so, there was a company called Digital Distribution (founded by Justin Clift) that gave you online courses using Flash. The company is no more, but what did survive from yesteryear is Lynda videos (from the mid-90s).

Now you have Udacity, Coursera, edX, Stanford online courses for certain classes and probably more – all with the focus of not just open education content, but testing, assignments, and more. Marking/grading assignments is probably the hardest. Let’s not forget niche based stuff like Codecademy or 10gen’s online education for MongoDB.

Signing up is easy. It’s continuing on a week-by-week basis with a busy schedule called life that I reckon discourages most people.

I wonder if the trick is as easy as calendaring time to study. After all from school to university, you live & breathe by a calendar (more affectionally known as a timetable). Self-study is probably harder for the masses (as it requires self-discipline), which explains why you don’t find as many part-time students until a little later in life.

How will apps & video play a role? Are apps the new channels?

I’m willing to bet though that eventually we’ll see the education becoming free, you’ll only end up paying for the certification. More self-starters, less student debt, overall a more productive world in a quicker fashion. For those of us that live in Asia, parents aspire to send kids to the UK, USA, or Australia. A lot of that is going to change.