MOOCs started the last decade as a proof of concept and finished with 380 million students taking over 30 thousand courses and 50 degrees from over 1,000 Universities globally (almost all published MOOC research and stats ignores China, emerging markets, workforce focused MOOCs and the long tail of niche-platforms).
MOOCs were never dead. This is not a come-back. Gradually, and accelerated by the circumstances of COVID-19, the current and potential role of MOOCs in the post-secondary landscape is becoming more widely understood. For the uninitiated, here is a very brief history of the MOOC and an overview of how MOOCs fit into our ‘OPX’ Meta Category.
Over the last few years in particular, MOOC platforms have broadened and honed their business models, built deep partnerships and collaborations with over 1,000 higher education institutions as well as servicing the large, growing, and historically fragmented corporate training sector.
While for most traditional education providers, COVID-19 is cause for serious concern about the long-term sustainability of their model, MOOC platforms have seen unprecedented institutional and learner demand. The borderless digital landscape tips traditional markets on their head. Harvard, Oxford, Stanford and Cambridge all compete for global learners, as do geographically proximal institutions in the offline world and those competing for share of internationally mobile cohorts. The shift to online higher education may mean each institution on the hyper-fragmented higher education landscape is now competing with 10-100x more institutions than in a physical context.
The screenshot below from HolonIQ’s Intelligence Platform, shows the monthly estimated web traffic of 150+ MOOCs around the world. Each circle represents an individual MOOC, the relative size represents their monthly web visits and they are colored by the country each MOOC is headquartered.
HolonIQ provides Global Market Intelligence to help you make decisions that matter.
We are building the world’s smartest source of global intelligence, derived from an unrivaled blend of digital signals sourced from proprietary algorithms, external partners and public data sources to codify and quantify the global education landscape. This unique, multidimensional approach fuses hundreds of diverse data sources to build smart estimates describing the size, shape and direction of the new education economy.
Web Traffic is one of several data points that can provide insights into an organization or institution, a cluster or thematic, a country or a region. HolonIQ is now estimating web traffic for tens of thousands of education organizations and institutions around the world, allowing customers the ability to filter, track and compare against many other data points.
MOOC’s digital reach just grew 2.5x, up 300 million monthly visits globally, as isolated learners seek immediate solutions to their knowledge and skills needs amid a rapidly-evolving work landscape.
Pre COVID-19, the online degree market was one of the fastest-growing segments of global higher education. A $74B Online Degree Market in 2025 sounds like a lot, but not compared to Global Higher Education, today a $2.2T global industry. Online Degrees would still represent less than 4% of the Global Higher Education Market at these levels.
OPMs, Pathways, Bootcamps and now ‘Education-as-a-Benefit’. Academic Program Focused Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) in Higher Education are growing rapidly and COVID-19 will only accelerate this 30 year trend.