“Time is the bottleneck”: a qualitative study exploring why learners drop out of MOOCs

Thommy Eriksson, Tom Adawi, Christian Stöhr, Journal of Computing in Higher Education, Jan 27, 2017
Commentary by Stephen Downes

The authors of this study interviewed participants of a couple MOOCs and asked them why they dropped out, rolling up the responses. Time was one of the factors cited, though there wasn't really an effort to quantify or order the responses, though 'time' was the most frequently cited reason. They then draw some odd conclusions. "When a course is open for everyone, some learners will have problems with the content being too difficult, or too basic, and some will have problems with understanding English, while others will have problems with Internet connections. Thus, we can ask two rhetorical questions: Are MOOCs really open?" I don't think this follows at all from the study.

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