What 6.9 million clicks tell us about how to fix online education

Stefanie Botelho's picture
Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The rise of online education and massively open online courses (MOOCs) have prompted much naysaying on their effectiveness, with detractors citing single-digit completion rates and short-lived pilot programs.

Amidst all the arguments about “flipped classrooms” and “hybrid learning,” however, few people have actually analyzed what makes MOOCs work (or fail): the content. Online learners spend most of their time watching videos — but are the videos any good?

This year edX, the online learning platform co-run by MIT and Harvard University, gave researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL) data on the second-by-second viewing habits of more than 100,000 learners perusing more than 6.9 million video sessions.

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