The MOOC dropout phenomenon and retention strategies

Joselyn Goopio, Catherine Cheung

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

68 Citations (Scopus)


The high dropout rate from Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) has been a major concern of researchers and educators over the years. Although academic papers on MOOCs have mushroomed over the past ten years, few studies have focused on MOOC dropout and retention. In particular, research on hospitality and tourism MOOCs has remained nascent despite the field’s significant contribution to international business and global employment. Because of the lack of relevant literature on hospitality and tourism MOOCs, this study conducts a systematic review of the MOOC literature on the broader education field, examining the MOOC dropout phenomenon and retention strategies. The results of a content analysis based on journal articles’ main research topic show four clusters: prediction, continuance intention, motivation, and attrition. Thematic analysis is used to categorize the dropout factors into seven major themes: learning experience, interactivity, course design, technology, language, time, and situation. This paper concludes with a summary of the results, recommendations, practical implications, limitations, and directions for future research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)177 - 197
JournalJournal of Teaching in Travel and Tourism
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021


  • dropout factors
  • hospitality and tourism MOOC
  • MOOCs
  • retention strategies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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