In the aftermath of the groundswell of online learning opportunities that swept the nation a few years ago, Stanford researchers have examined the question “Are MOOCs successful?”
The conclusion of the researchers has been that online learning is not the cure for all that education needs, but the techniques are leading to advances in how students learn, contributing to availability of information.
Originally, the idea what that massively open online courses without limits that were available toanyone with an Internet connection would change the standard classroom and the lives of students in developing countries. However, according to Stanford professors John Mitchell, Candace Thille and Mitchell Stevens, the results have not worked out that way.
Problems include low completion rates, and a lack of academic background for classes from major universities. Consequently, most MOOC students continue to be college educated men from developed countries.
According to the researchers, one frustration is that MOOCs allow educators to watch online learners fail. “We see people struggling and there really isn’t any mechanism to help them,” said Mitchell, Stanford’s vice provost for teaching and learning. He believes that advancing learning all over the world is not a simple undertaking, and it involves more than simply putting courses online.
One value MOOCs have provided is a vast amount of data about how students learn or do not learn. That data is useful in online classrooms as well as in the physical classroom.