The authors of the article conducted a study aimed at studying the problems associated with this form of training and the reasons for their occurrence. The article considers an example of the application of one of the machine learning methods – cluster analysis and describes the blockchain technology adapted for the implementation of the control functions of the system of distance education. On the example of the data on the results of the survey of students of the National research University "Higher school of Economics" by machine learning were obtained clusters, groups of students - potential users of online courses on the level of their conversion during the passage. The key factors influencing getting into groups successfully/not successfully mastering online courses are chosen. According to the results of the research, recommendations are given to improve the effectiveness of online courses based on machine learning, blockchain technology and other modern forms of work with data.