There is a reason why you don´t always let Netflix decide what movie you should watch, even though they have great AI-algorithms for helping you out. At a particular moment they might actually not know what you really are looking for. Then, how to chose between all e-learning-courses already out there? Here is the answer.
Class Central is an interesting phenomenon/site. It has been around for some years, and still seem to be growing. It is a site with the intent to help you to find the best MOOC-courses already out there.
The idea behind Class Centreal is, of course, a good one. Since there already are a lot of MOOC-courses out there on a certain topic, it could be great if someone could help you finding the best one. Put “marketing” into their search-engine and you get interesting result. At this moment you get 707 hits. You can then sort them in different ways, like on when the courses start, what language they are in, by sub-subject, and on ratings done by former students. But will that help you?
Let´s call this phenomenon “Trip-advisor for education” in order to make things clear. Tripadvisor is a review-site helping you for instance to find the “best restaurant”, or the “best hotel”. Tripadvisor started already year 2000. Today they are listed on Nasdaq and has more than 3000 employees. To put it mildly; Tripadvisor is big, and they do really matter. Getting a good ranking on Tripadvisor can mean a lot, simply because they have more than 400 million users every month. Tripadvisor is already a billion dollar business.
However; do remember that there are several different kinds of “Trip-advisor” actually existing . The reason for that is rather simple actually. One day you might have an interest in just finding a cheap hotel, since you are travelling for work. But the other day you might be travelling with your family instead and then what is “best”, from your point of view, might change. Maybe you want a quite hotel instead. Your preferences are not fixed, but depend on the situation, the context (Actually; this particular case has Tripadvisor already more or less solved…impressing, right? But they are not able to solve all possible preferences you might have, and that is why competitors to them even exist at this moment).
Why do we chose to take a certain online-course? Well, it could be because we want to have the best “content”. It can also be because we have preferences on certain well-known brands, like Harvard, or Tsinghua, or Oxford, or whatever. But, it can also be because of something else.
Sometimes we might want the fastest/shortest, or longest, or even the cheapest, course. It can even be that we chose a certain course because we just want to have some fun for a while. In all these different situations the preferences for chosing can be somewhat different compared to before.
In here lies the basic reason for why there still is a big space left open in order to create great “Trip-advisors for education” – eventhough actors like Class Central already exist. Class Central was not the first actor coming up with this basic idea and they are neither alone here.
Could it actually be that this battle have just started? What is then the next step to expect? How much would you be willing to pay in order to find the course on the web that at this moment could give you the biggest smile ever?