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Researchers at Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on Thursday released the latest version of an ongoing study to analyze the learners in massive open online courses on edX, which the two institutions founded. The study was first released in 2014. The 2017 version contains information about the 4.5 million learners who have participated in edX MOOCs since 2012. Findings include:

  • The number of learners choosing to study toward a certificate in edX MOOCs has leveled off since the platform discontinued an option for learners to earn a free certificate of completion.
  • About one-third (32 percent) of the people who participate in edX MOOCs work or used to work as teachers.
  • More than half (60 percent) of learners in the average MOOC opt for paid certificate.
  • The average MOOC learner spends 29 hours with the courseware before earning a certificate.