I buy tech books often to teach myself about things I think will be useful at work. I do not read them cover to cover - I study the portions I'm interested in, those that may solve a perticular problem. I may return to them later to study another aspect that I need to know. I consider the money well spent if I'm able to learn what I need when I need to learn it. That's what I consider a valuable resource.
I've used several MOOCs in the same way. I've worked my way through the bulk of them without difficulty. But I never bothered to complete them. I learned what I needed to know and moved on. I consider these courses to be tremendously valuable resources. I just don't use them the way the designers expected me to.
That doesn't make them a failure. It just means that if you provide a great source of information for free to the net, people are going to use them in ways that make sense to them.