Coursera Banks $50 Million – Now What?

moocsIf you are immersed in the elearning industry then there is a good chance you know about Coursera.

Actually, even if you aren’t part of the elearning industry then you may know them by taking one of the courses offered on their site.

Coursera is the world’s most popular MOOC and is largely responsible for starting a formalized uprising of similar services like edX, Codecademy, SkillShare, and so on.

Just recently Coursera got a little bigger.

The three year old company just finished raising an additional $49.5 million.

When I see news like this generally two things come to my mind:

  • Wow! How they’ll use that money?
  • Uh oh! How are they going to give investors a return on their investment?

While Coursera offers free courses they now charge a fee for students to receive their certificate of completion. This has resulted in upwards of a million dollars revenue the first year, but surely investors will require something more substantial.

Which is likely why Coursera’s offerings have begun to evolve in way that I think is outside of their original intent. This shift is likely the result of previous funding rounds and the need for investors to eventually see a return on the money.

Not much has been disclosed at this point as to what these newly acquired funds will be used for. In fact, I searched over quite a few press releases but nothing was written with regards to what we can expect going forward (other than generic statements around “better connecting students”).

I suppose this means we get to wait in suspense to see how the nearly $50 million will be used to impact the Coursera offering. Hopefully some of it will be earmarked for improving the user experience, but my gut tells me that this will mark an even greater shift towards ways for revenue generation.

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About the Author:

Justin Ferriman is the co-founder and CEO of LearnDash, the WordPress LMS trusted by the world's leading organizations, such as the University of Michigan, Digital Marketer, WPEngine, and Infusionsoft. Justin has made a career as an elearning consultant where he has implemented large-scale training programs for Fortune 500 companies. Twitter | LinkedIn

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