Everyone Wants To Learn To Code, Few Actually Do

A few weeks ago, I signed up for the Coursera Software as a Service course to learn the full Agile Development process with Ruby on Rails. Although I was really excited about the course, I ended up tied up with work and couldn’t dedicate the time needed to do this course (I know, lame excuse!!!). I WILL learn Ruby on Rails though, I have another plan to make sure I learn it, but more on that later.

Anyway, I was not the only one who wanted to take the course. I got an email before the course even started with the following message:

“As this will be just the 5th online course ever with 60,000+ students, we are likely to run into some issues that we hadn’t planned for. We’re working hard so that you can have a good learning experience, but let us apologize in advance for any problems that occur.”

The course had over 60,000 sign ups!

Today, I got the last email from the course, which ended, with the following stats:

“Here are the stats of this MOOC:
· ~ 20,000 students watched at least one video
· ~ 10,000 students attempted at least one assignment or quiz
· ~ 3,500 students will receive a Statement of Accomplishment”

Well, at least I was one of the 20,000 of the original 60,000 who watched the first video. But it’s crazy to see that out of the 60,000 people who were interested in learning this material, only 3,500 actually finished. That’s about 6% of people who originally registered!

Actually, to be honest, I’m not surprised based on my personal experience. When I first started to learn to code, I started a 45 person study group of other people who wanted to learn with me. Of the whole group, only 2 of us actually went through the Stanford CS106A course (that’s 4.4%), so Coursera is actually doing pretty well. And just like with Coursera, most people in my group dropped off at the downloading software part and only a few actually tried doing the first assignment.

I was actually talking to a friend the other day, and she had the idea of charging for an online course and then returning the tuition if the student actually finishes the course. In this case, she would keep most of the tuition!

Anyway, just wanted to point out how steep the drop-off is for free online courses. It’s just too easy to quit.

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