Online Education’s Dirty Secret: Awful Retention

Peter Reinhardt:

I’m extremely excited about online education, but I’ve noticed that online education products have a really serious problem: low retention. I’ve used Coursera, EdX, HackDesign, Duolingo, Codecademy… and I’ve churned from all of them. I bet you did too!
I don’t want to tear down these products or the people who’ve built them, I’m rooting for them all the way. They just need some tough love, and so this article explains why I churned: the starting commitment is too high, the re-engagement emails are terrible, and the pacing is impersonal.
How low IS their retention?
Coursera founder Daphne Koller said last year that only 7-9% of students who sign up actually “finish” the class. The definition of finish is a bit fuzzy, so I wanted to collect some more data.