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  • Writer's pictureACC Worldwide Learning

Dropout Causes for Online Educational Programs

Updated: Mar 22

The dropout rate for adults in online education programs has been a topic of interest for educational researchers, especially given the increasing popularity of online education. The exact percentage can vary based on multiple factors: the institution offering the course, the type of course (e.g., MOOC vs. formal degree program), the subject matter, the target demographic, and the support structures in place for students.


MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses)

These platforms, such as Coursera, edX, and Udacity, tend to have high dropout rates. Some studies and reports indicate that completion rates can be as low as 5-15%. This means that up to 95% of enrollees may not finish a given MOOC. However, it's worth noting that the barrier to entry for MOOCs is quite low. Many learners might enroll out of casual interest without a firm commitment to completion.


Formal Online Degree Programs

Dropout rates for online degree programs tend to be higher than for traditional, face-to-face programs. However, the rates are generally much better than MOOCs. Various studies have found that dropout rates for online degree programs can range from 20% to 50%, depending on the institution and the nature of the program. For instance, community colleges with online programs might experience higher dropout rates than four-year institutions.


What Factors Are Influencing Dropout Rates?

Multiple elements can influence these percentages, including:


· The level of student engagement and interaction

· The availability of student support services

· The Perceived relevance and quality of content

· The personal, professional, or academic circumstances of the learners


Courses such as ACC Worldwide Learns’ Mastering Online Academic Skills teach students what to expect and how to navigate the online educational environment to lessen dropout potential.

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