MOOCs and the Funnel of Participation

Doug Clow, Techlandia Podcast - Techlandia Radio, Apr 16, 2013
Commentary by Stephen Downes

Interesting paper introducing the metaphor of a 'funnel of participation' to illustrate the steep drop-off inactivity in a MOOC. It uses three MOOCs as cases and observes that the number of people registering is much greater than the number of people making "meaningful learning Progress." Good set of references (though it suggests to me I ought to publish more). One quibble: the author argues that the existence of the funnel of participation "shows that MOOCs alone cannot replace degrees or most other formal qualifications" because "the significant efforts that institutions put in to supporting their learners to reach a commonality of learning outcome are necessary, and have a real effect." This doesn't follow at all, and is a conclusion that (true or not) goes well beyond the evidence presented here.

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