Factors of dropout from MOOCs: a bibliometric review

Wei Wang, Yongyong Zhao, Yenchun Jim Wu*, Mark Goh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Although MOOCs have become a pervasive online learning model, the problem of high dropout rates still persists. Gathering the reasons for the high dropout rate can help to improve the platform design and management of the MOOCs. Design/methodology/approach: A total of 74 studies was extracted from the Web of Science and Scopus. Following the PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses) guidelines, the open-source program CiteSpace is employed to review and induce the studies on the antecedents of MOOC dropout. Findings: The antecedents of the MOOC dropout rate are the psychological, social, personal, course-related, and time factors, and the unexpected hidden cost. Motivation and interaction, which have a decisive impact on the dropout rate of MOOCs, interact with each other. Interaction helps to strengthen the motivation, and appropriate course design enhances the degree of interaction. Originality/value: From the perspective of a learner, the more knowledge and skills the learners acquire, the more likely they will complete the course. Possessing adequate foundational knowledge is one way to arrest the dropout rate. On the part of the MOOC platform, better course design eases the dropout rate. Further, the course duration and hidden cost in MOOCs contribute to the dropout rate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)432-453
Number of pages22
JournalLibrary Hi Tech
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2023 Jun 1
Externally publishedYes


  • Bibliometrics
  • CiteSpace
  • Dropout
  • Learning analytics
  • MOOC
  • Online learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Library and Information Sciences


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