Todays MOOC-platforms is not the final structure

Remember music? Today: streaming. Yesterday: CD:s. But, there was also something important in the middle: iTunes/Piracy. The industry developed in phases. Things that many assumed to be “fixed and final”, during the road, wasn´t. Now, could what recently happened in the US-based part of the MOOC-industry be a sign of a new phase upcoming soon?

Today the existing MOOC-platforms have been around for nearly 10 years. How well have they actually developed over these years?

Considering the potential, the Moocs of today are small, very small.

Well, they have grown, heavily. That´s impressing. Platforms like Coursera, Edx, Xuetang, FutureLearn etc have about 100 million subscribers – some less, some more. But how big is actually the potential? Several billion people. We have about 7.5 billion people on the globe.

Are 50 % of people living potential “students”?

Or, is that a far to low estimation?

Adding to that: How many universities…if that assumed to be a relevant comparison, it´s actually not: professional education is tremendously big, and not included then…do really exist on the globe?

Actually; I don´t think anyone really knows the answer on how many universities that exist on the planet. And what a university is, or is not, is also very different all over the globe – there is no UN-based-system existing that can help us to make sure that a specific university is, or is not, a university.

Lets say there is about at least 25 000 universities on the globe.

Still not professional education included.

That´s quite a lot of universities. And then we also know that more universities are set up on the globe at this moment – education is growing in a similar way as global economic development.

There still is a huge potential left for the existing MOOC-platforms.

How big is the market? No-one really knows.

How fast have the MOOCs then grown since they started about 10 years ago? Well, if you look on the curves, they definitely have increased every year, but not in the same speed during the last years as they did in the beginning. Could several of them even be levering out soon?

Xuetang from China nowadays seem to grow faster than for instance Coursera and Edx…the chinese market is bigger.

Will that mean that this phenomenon is about to fade out soon? Not likely. Absolutely not likely. The market is tremendously big, with lot of actors interested in taking it. Adding to that: the power within digitalization is so tremendously strong that the world will not go backwards.

Just consider this…

Assume you where Andrew Ng at this moment and gave an AI-course on for instance Coursera, and got about 2 million (!) students.

Just imagine the size of that “physical classroom” he would need at Stanford for doing that off-line.

Then add that at least 1 % of the students that have enrolled, actually far more in average on the MOOCs, is also paying for a certificate…lets say 50 dollars each.

How much money does that then become?

A single on-line-course can, already today, be a million dollar business.

Sometimes money matters.


Imagine taking at least some of that money and putting back into your venture. Put it in pedagogical development for instance, maybe the next edition of that course – don´t imagine what could be done if you put that money into marketing instead.

How good could that course then become, and how many students would he then get that time? Perhaps 20 million students, instead of 2 million students?

So, in total, what we are in at this moment might just be a “middle-phase”. If things get stuck a bit during its way forward, then it is reasonable to expects something will happen in order to create a new situation where e-learning can develop even further than what it already has done.

By the way; did you notice that Stanford, one of the owners to Coursera, just recently decided to move several on-line-courses to EdX? And EdX happen to be a competitor to Coursera in some sense. Shortly after that, they also became institutional member of EdX. Here:

Stanford Moves to edX, Stops Offering Free Certificates

Could this be a sign of us all soon is about to see some kind of radical change of some of the existing MOOC-platforms? Could a new phase in the development of e-learning be on the horizon?

Neither iTunes nor piracy became the final digital structure for music. A bit later on in time we got streaming, that outperformed iTunes – even piracy.

Perhaps the existing MOOCs should be seen just like iTunes and piracy.

If that is the case; digital education have not really started yet.

Share this post and perhaps help others prepare.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s