Survey - Why do people not complete the online courses they sign up for?

Hi folks,

Most of us have at one point of time signed up for a spate of online courses(both paid and free) but then never got around to it. The problem is worse when it is assigned to us - say from the manager/company and there is no intrinsic desire to do the course. I am trying to come up with some better solutions to nudge people to completion.

It would be nice if you could share your experience.

  1. What prompted you to sign up for a course?
  2. Why did you not complete it?

Haha I signed for a MOOC more that a month ago. I paid for it. And since a month I keep repeating to myself: I need to start this course. I will happily answer your questions:

  1. I want to gain knowledge, learn something new and an online course is much more affordable and accesssible than a regular course.
  2. I haven’t blocked any time for it. I’m intending to this in my free time (which I never seem to have). There’s no interaction, really. All you do is read/listen/solve quizzes. It doesn’t draw my attention, it doesn’t challenge me in the way I like, which is interactively.

I’ll allow myself to point to a MOOC course which I actually enjoyed. It was edX course on wireframing and prototyping. And I liked it because, yes, there is a certain amount of non-interactive content like videos, but it also asks you to execute tasks (at home, by yourself mostly). However, before you are able to execute them, you need to assess other people’s completed tasks. It’s a beautiful example of the reprocity rule. In order to get something you first need to do something. And then if you’re persistent enough to complete the task, you are gratified with the assesment of your work (which wasn’t a quizz).


I signed up for the Udemy ‘Learn Coding by Making Your Own Video Games’.

Answer to #1) I signed up for that course because I want to get into the video game industry and I have heard that one of the paths to that is by learning programming.

Answer to #2) It turns out that I don’t like learning programming languages. I worked my way through about a third of the course, and decided that I was just forcing my progression in the course. When I realized that, I stopped trying to complete it.

1 Like

Thanks @mag_sobieszuk

Thanks @BraydnDegraw


I have signed up for a few online courses with a view to learnings new skills or finding out more about a subject matter.

My reasons for not completing the courses varied from the content not being engaging (a mix of videos, text and questions keeps you engaged), not having sufficient time to complete the course or getting so behind on the lessons that it felt like too much effort to catch up. I think the courses where you have paid for the content or if you have to complete the lessons/activities as a team are more likely to get completed as you have more ‘invested’ in the course.



I’ve also signed up for many courses but not completed any, mostly because I love the idea of it but in reality I don’t have the time (or I don’t prioritise it).


Oh this is me.

  1. It could be any of the following: it looked interesting, it looked useful, I didn’t have a choice, it looked like it could be completed quickly, I liked it enough to not care how long it would take.

  2. Also any of the following: life happened, work happened, I got bored, it didn’t teach what it said it would, I didn’t like the presenter/presentation style - there was one that was super condescending and I wasn’t sitting through any more of that, too many self directed exercises that had to be done off screen eg write down blah blah blah instead of a quiz or something, the education level was higher/lower than indicated.

That’s all I can think of right now.