Users motivation and the effect of incentives in coursera

Coursera a 2013 startup operates a Massive Open Online Courses platform accessible worldwide through their website. The main product offering for the company are courses, premium services, and company gear. The startup works through a collaboration with institutions of learning in a bid to provide quality academic content online. The startup generated a lot of uproar, press, funding and over 1,000,000 signups within the first three months of launch. Over the years the startup has been viewed as profitable which is contrary to the case. The revenue models implemented included charges on content access, the introduction of premium services and sales of student data, all the above models made sense on paper but revenue generation has not materialized as planned out ever since.

The biggest challenge facing MOOCs like Coursera is the increased number of drop outs; these are individuals who sign up into the platform but end up not completing their course. This challenge possess a threat to the hope of Coursera ever generating any revenue. Motivation and use of incentive programs are currently being evaluated in a bid to improve the participation and aptitude of learners in MOOCs. Coursera could put to use extrinsic and intrinsic motivation techniques in a bid to improve on student retention and learn about the learner’s interest. Incentives have been known to improve the uptake if products in the business environment. However much Coursera is offering free courses online, they require financial support for operational maintenance in order to stay afloat. Coursera not only needs to be afloat but also to be a revenue generating venture. This paper looks into the impacts of motivation and incentives a bid to improve the student retention on the platform and to improve on revenue generation.

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