A Successful MOOC for Kids

[Alex Hernandez uses his insights as a parent and an Edsurge writer on educational technology to share a summer success story for his two twins. The Brain Chase program used a “Blended” approach – physical objects and activities combined online experiences – to create an engaging 5 week experience. ]
Alex Hernandez

Sep 21, 2015

Brain ChaseMy 9-year-old twins recently completed a five-week MOOC (massive open online course). I thought I’d be a proud, high-fiving dad, but MOOC completion rates hover around 6%, so when they completed the MOOC, I was mostly puzzled. Something went terribly… right.

Brain Chase is an online learning experience geared for 2nd to 8th graders designed to cure summer learning loss and provide afterschool enrichment. Each week, children work on a variety of online programs such as Khan Academy, myOn and Rosetta Stone, submit a piece of writing and read–a substantial investment of 5 hours a week during the summer.

Brain Chase’s founders, husband-and-wife team Heather and Allan Staker, shared that 2,000 children between the ages of 6 and 14 participated this summer, and 50% of them completed the five week program. “While the completion rate skewed slightly towards boys, it held at roughly 50% across age and gender,” Allan reported.

So how is Brain Chase bucking the curse of low MOOC completion rates? And what are the implications for online learning?

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