Do MOOCs upend traditional business education?

MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Massive_open_online_course

Are MOOCs scaring traditional models of business education? Though the number of people enrolling for these courses seem to be on the rise, the number actually completing and gaining a certificate seem to be a let down – 3% – 5%. Here is a study that talks about this and some rather surprising trends on how MOOC’s are faring and how they may impact traditional education. Link: http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article/moocs-upend-traditional-business-education/

There are important lessons from the study for both receivers and providers of online content. It doesn’t seem like pricing for certification with the content delivered free has been a very interesting revenue model so far. But it is also important to not miss the fact that the volumes may over time justify the revenues, especially the margins.

It also looks like MOOC’s if used well could bring to business schools a fresh set of students who may add diversity to a good program. It will bring improved class discussions, perspectives, as well as greater markets to business schools. Hence it does seem a worthy experiment for most business schools to offer some form of MOOC or online courses, that students can take prior to choosing a business school. It seems like a real differentiator!

While there are no final words out on the matter of whether people would prefer to stay at home or continue in their jobs and take courses online to complete higher education – but assuming that this will be the future, seems far fetched! At least in the current context, especially in a developing country context.

It doesn’t seem like MOOC’s will replace traditional business schools in developing countries for a long time. But will B Schools use these channels as sources of drawing in more students, creating more markets for themselves is something worth watching as a trend.

Think about it!

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