Modern Ekalavyas Learning Technique 1 — Start with Why?

Coursera has more than 8 million registrations, edX has more than 3 million, and Udacity recently crossed the 2 million mark. While these numbers seem staggering, the course completion rate tells an entirely different story. Across all MOOC platforms, the course completion rate stands at a measly 7%. Much research has been done to identify the reason for this abysmal completion figure, and methods to control the dropout rate. Some research indicates the lack of motivation or a strong “why?” being the primary reason for the low completion rates. The lack of negative repercussions of abandoning a course midway also contributes towards the dropout.

Think about college. If you quit college midway, you have to enrol again to finish your course. However, with MOOCs, you do not have any penalties for abandoning a course. Enrolling again is easy, and many courses are not even time bound. Even if they are, you have ample time to complete, and there is no time pressure.

Companies have tried experimenting with various fee structures, but they do not seem to have any impact on the completion rates. This pattern appears to extend to my professional field too. For example, I interact with many professionals who want to switch to analytics, but the average tenure in the field is small. What could they do better? As in the example above, people need to start with their “why?” — Why do they want to switch to analytics? If better salary alone is the prime motivation, they may want to reconsider their decision. Anyone who intends to shift to analytics needs to have a love for playing with data, so they can use that data to help solve business problems. Taking a course alone does not make them eligible for being a part of the analytics world.

Ekalavya had an unshakeable urge to gain mastery over archery, which is why he didn’t give up even when he was rejected by Dronacharya, and instead, found his own unique way of training himself. Much like Ekalavya, if we are resolute in our determination to complete a MOOC, we would reap benefits quickly, and who knows, we may even master it without having to lose a thumb!

If you want further motivation on starting with “WHY?”, Simon Sinek’s TED talk perfectly explains it. You can also visit his website for further reading. And if you like to read his book, you can purchase “Start with Why” on Amazon

Originally published at F X NIKEE.