The Massive Online Learning Course in Connectivism started out with 2200 learners. If the amount of posting occuring on the web is an indication, participation has noticably slowed down around the half way point. By looking at the number of writers who successfully complete the very popular NaNoWriMo writing challenge of producing a 50,000 word novel in a month, I would like to suggest that the success benchmark for an open massive course should be in the area of 30% for the non-credit, non-paying group. As with the NaNoWriMo, the first group is not a typical group because those who knew about it were already loosely networked. In subsequent years, the people enrolling will less likely be of the same standing in the field. This particular grouping had a lot of Ph.D. candidates and academic designers in it.
If the statistics follow NaNoWriMo, a massive open educational online happening is not a threat to the bricks and mortar schools because the percentage that will actually complete the course will be mainly people who already have an array of skills in their academic tool box.
November is NaNoWriMo month. I've provided the url for those of you who feel up to producing a 50,000 word Novel in 30 days.
The number of entrants and the number who actually complete the 50,000 words is growing.
1999: 21 participants and six winners
2000: 140 participants and 29 winners
2001: 5,000 participants and more than 700 winners
2002: 13,500 participants and around 2,100 winners
2003: 25,500 participants and about 3,500 winners
2004: 42,000 participants and just shy of 6,000 winners
2005: 59,000 participants and 9,769 winners
2006: 79,000 participants and 13,000 winners
2007: 101,510 participants and 15,333 winners
If you do the math, the highest percentage of completers were during the first two years - 28.57% and 20.71%. Since then, the percentage of completers has fallen within a narrow range. The lowest was in 2003 with 13.73% completing their novels to a high in 2005 of 16.56%