How to motivate students for online education

Motivating students for online education is a dilemma. Students come from diverse cultures with different levels of communication, hierarchy, expectations. Exit barriers to dropping out also make some students drop out too easily by giving up since the course is free or at a nominal price. I believe one way to motivate students is to keep them involved by constant quizzes, feedback mechanisms as well as ensure how to maximize the rate of knowledge gained by student per hour invested. Time is a key investment by a student. Unfortunately one of the reasons of very good content by many MOOCs still continues to have a high dropout rate is they focus on revenue (verified certificates for a small price), and content (better projects and industry interaction) and course breadth (more courses or bundling them into a specialization) than the key underlying principle of motivating students for a global audience


Abstract The advent of massive open online courses (MOOCs) poses new learning opportunities for learners as well as challenges for researchers and designers. MOOC students approach MOOCs in a range of fashions, based on their learning goals and preferred approaches, which creates new opportunities for learners but makes it difficult for researchers to figure out what a student’s behavior means, and makes it difficult for designers to develop MOOCs appropriate for all of their learners. Towards better understanding the learners who take MOOCs, we conduct a survey of MOOC learners’ motivations and correlate it to which students complete the course according to the pace set by the instructor/platform (which necessitates having the goal of completing the course, as well as succeeding in that goal). The results showed that course completers tend to be more interested in the course content, whereas non-completers tend to be more interested in MOOCs as a type of learning experience. Contrary to initial hypotheses, however, no substantial differences in mastery-goal orientation or general academic efficacy were observed between completers and non-completers. However, students who complete the course tend to have more self-efficacy for their ability to complete the course, from the beginning.

and from

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have recently experienced rapid development and garnered significant attention from various populations. Despite the wide recognition of MOOCs as an important opportunity within educational practices, there are still many questions as to how we might satisfy students’ needs, as evidenced by very high dropout rates. Researchers lack a solid understanding of what student needs are being addressed by MOOCs, and how well MOOCs now address (or fail to address) these needs. To help in building such an understanding, we conducted in-depth interviews probing student motivations, learning perceptions and experiences towards MOOCs, paying special attention to the MOOC affordances and experiences that might lead to high drop rates. Our study identified learning motivations, learning patterns, and a number of factors that appear to influence student retention. We proposed that the issue of retention should be addressed from two perspectives: retention as a problem but also retention as an opportunity.

Author: Ajay Ohri

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