The fourth webinar in our Higher Education Digital Transformation series took a fresh look at what’s been happening with MOOCs since they first hit the headlines a decade ago. The session examined the material changes to global education in recent years, and how MOOCs have been evolving and diversifying.
From the perspective of a Higher Education institution, digital capabilities of a MOOC partner feature across all Dimensions of the learner lifecycle in the Higher Education Digital Capability Framework. Digital capabilities in ‘Demand and Discovery’, such as product strategy, digital marketing and student recruitment are an important factor, as is the ‘Learning Design’ dimension focusing on Curriculum Design and Digital Content/Courseware.
MOOCs first hit the mainstream media around 2012, and by October, the New York Times had proclaimed 2012 ‘The Year of the MOOC’. By 2013, MOOCs had become a worldwide phenomenon, however just a few years later, MOOCs were deemed ‘a failed experiment’.
Meanwhile, MOOCs were quietly building institutional and corporate partnerships, and by 2019 boasted more than 30,000 courses, 50 degrees and partnerships with 1,000+ universities. With 2020 came COVID-fuelled growth in all channels – consumer, enterprise and degrees.
The MOOC model is active across most of the ‘micro credential’ segments, finding a role as a B2B partner in online non-degree certificates and microcredentials, operating direct-to-consumer (D2C) for online courses and badges, and delivering test-prep in the professional certifications market.
Together, content and distribution define the four dominant Online Course Platform models. One of the key differentiators here is who creates and builds curriculum, ranging from individual makers and professionals delivering peer to peer learning to global education and technology giants scaling unprecedented upskilling. The distribution strategy then defines how Online Course Platforms enable and distribute digital learning, again with a mass of choice, from the single brand ‘shopfront’ to multi-brand ‘catalog’.
New possibilities and ideas are helping to re-envision how international higher education might look post-COVID.
Coursera made its market debut on the New York Stock Exchange late March through an IPO and is now trading under the ticker symbol “COUR.” The company raised $520M and closed it’s first day of trading with a $5.9 billion market cap.
Tracking the evolution of the MOOC, which started the last decade as a proof of concept and finished with 380 million students globally.