Problem: progress towards goal not clear

Course completion rates for e-learning and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are much lower than in-person courses. My hypothesis was that seeing progress and proximity to goal (goal gradient effect) will encourage users to complete more courses.

Udemy offers courses in a wide variety of subjects from many different teachers, and browsing new courses is easy. Users cannot organize the courses they have purchased, however, which leads to an inconsistent experience. There is an opportunity to provide continuity, however, by allowing users to organize their courses and scaffold the experience they'd like to have.

Goal: increase course completion rates by showing progress in a customizable dashboard

Learning dashboards allow people to manage their own learning by seeing their progress so they can manage their effort and their time. They include features like progress and completion idicators, and some even show activity and estimated duration. Similar services users recalled were Audible for the progress and estimated duration and Github for the activity tracking.

I talked to several users of online courses, tutorial services, and Massive Open Online Courses, and I tested wireframes on them. Only one of them considered tracking activity, but for the rest, only progress/completion and estimated time left were important. They felt that the activity chart was a distraction, so I simplified my original design by taking out the activity tracker chart to show only progress. 


This dashboard shows user-generated collections and their progress. When they individual collections, they can see all of the incomplete courses in that collection by default (and can turn on a completed courses view). The Zeigarnik effect (if they've started any courses in the playlist) and the Goal Gradient Effect (seeing how close they are to the goal) will be stronger with a progress bar that indicates completion and proximity to the goal.

Page mockup


  1. Users can see the estimated time left and progress towards finishing. Seeing how far they've come and watching the time left decrease encourages them to complete courses.

  2. Users can manage their time better with the duration rather than guess with only the number of videos or progress indicators.

Next Steps:

  1. Find a good comparative metric for completion rates and weekly average use of MOOCs that have no clear course progression, like Udemy, vs those who have prescribed tracks, such as Udacity, Treehouse, and DigitalTutors.

  2. Compare completion rates and weekly average use for users who can organize their courses vs the current view.