I posted this a few places back in the spring – it’s from the Tagoras Leading Learning Spring Summit – but it occurred to me recently that it really should be posted here as as well. A brief overview of why trade and professional associations can and should dominate the market for lifelong learning. (Many, I find, take it for granted that they do, but that is not the foregone conclusion that it used to be.)
In the late 1990s, I got some of my initial experience in online education working for a start-up that planned to capture content from top 25 business schools and channel it into community colleges. Those were heady days. We were out to change the world, and like many dotcom companies, we raised – and spent – a lot of money trying to build a successful business.
You can probably guess how it ended: the money the company spent vastly exceeded the money it actually made and, like so many of our dotcom peers, we eventually sold off what was left of our efforts and moved on.
When I hear news today about Harvard and MIT launching a high profile – and free – e-learning initiative, or start-ups like Udacity targeting a massive global student base, it’s tempting to think things will turn out much the same.
But they won’t.