Over the past few years we have been following the rise of massive open online courses (or MOOCs) and their influence on traditional learning methods.
Since their conception, the number of MOOCs today has been increasing, a mix of both for and non-profit intentions. Ultimately it is reasonable to expect that every MOOC is going monetize their offering in some capacity, some are just more explicit on this matter.
While it’s true that MOOCs often will cover a large range of topics, the ones that are demonstrating the most success address one very specific concept: they answer the question, “what’s in it for me?”
There are many people who enjoy taking a course for the sake of learning, but the more motivated student is the one who gets something in return for taking the course. It can be a form of college credit, but more effective is the course that lends itself to some form of professional certification.
Employers today still care about traditional college degrees, but for some industries it makes more sense to seek the employee that has specific skill-set. Computer programming is one good example. In the United States, there are constantly commercials for services like Lynda and TreeHouse – both of which have tracts that are tailored to web design and development.
Because of this shift, there have been even more MOOCs that focus purely on one industry (not just tech). In return for your money, they provide you with an online course that will increase your knowledge on that specific subject – and in many cases, award you a recognized certificate or continuing education credit. You can then leverage this to land a job or get a raise.
As this kind of education becomes more recognized across employers, the value of these online courses will increase. As such, it’s likely that pricing for these kinds of courses will increase as well, although this increase will be marginal when compared to the increases we are seeing in secondary education.