The future of digital learning

MOOC's are facing challenges but seeking to become better learning outlets for students

The future of digital learning

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC's) were once considered the solution to many educational issues plaguing students today, including cost and accessibility. However, despite all of the positive movements forward, MOOC programs are still encountering many issues. For one, employers admit that they are more likely to hire applicants with a traditional degree versus an online education. MOOC’s also see a higher dropout rate and lower overall grades in comparison to a conventional education. Education scholars speculate on whether or not this online movement is just a passing fad that will not last to see long-term results.

What is the future of MOOC's?

In order to combat some of the issues that have arisen with MOOC's, online learning platforms and traditional schools have started to come together to combine both old and new leaning efforts. NovoEd, a student-centered online learning platform that uses collaboration and teamwork at the center of their online learning experience, has partnered with Princeton University, Wharton University of Pennsylvania, SRI International, University of Maryland, Decision Education Foundation, Kauffman Fellows Academy, Entrepreneurship at UCSF and the Carnegie Foundation to create some of their courses. This learning center describes itself as a three-step working process that has students network with peers, alumni and mentors, encourages students to learn to lead and work in a team setting, and to join the “world’s classroom” at a global level.

This learning experience is different from traditional MOOC programs in that it offers online and in-person study groups and requires students to work on real-life projects. Students also seek out mentors and from this are able to start their own projects to enhance individual learning. “Traditional online courses focus on the most boring parts of education through tedious practices such as multiple choice questions which creates an isolating, lonely environment for students,” says NovoEd’s founder, Amin Saberi. Contrary to that idea, NovoEd and the schools they partner with seek to motivate students and create an environment in which they want to expand. 

In the NovoEd MOOC learning experience, students are able to find mentors and networking opportunities through online forums, work in teams and establish global relationships with classmates from around the world. Individuals and companies both utilize the program, people are able to gain degrees while working or training in their career field.

Skepticism of MOOC's has often stemmed from the low success rate of early online learning platforms which saw an average of about five percent success rate. So far, the NovoEd educational model has seen a large increase in success with a 45 percent to 65 percent success rate of students finishing a certain course. Professors and students who have witnessed the success cite the positive feedback as a result of the collaborative learning experience. Students are more engaged and likely to complete their studies in a group setting versus independent study.

The ultimate goal of the MOOC is to make college degrees more accessible with a more affordable price and to increasing online course retention rates. While the future of online learning and MOOC's is often changing, there is no doubt that strides are continually being made in order to improve the educational future for students, both online and traditionally.

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