Online Learning Revolution Pushes Further Into Corporate Training

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Auteur : Seb Murray
Date de l'info : 23 mars 2015


As business warms to online learning, the Silicon Valley start-ups behind Moocs are pushing further into the lucrative field of executive education.

The developers of Moocs – massive open online courses – have been reaping havoc on traditional education models everywhere. Now, they are pushing further into the lucrative field of executive education.

Educational technology companies Coursera, Udemy and Alison are all disrupting the buoyant corporate training market, worth $70 billion in the US alone, according to Deloitte research.

As technology improves and online learning gains credibility, they are signing up big businesses including AT&T, Accenture and Microsoft.

To counter the threat, many business schools are creating a portfolio of custom online courses that corporations pay for to supplement their traditional campus exec programs. Columbia, Harvard and Wharton have all moved in this direction.

Nancy Moss, director of communications at edX, a non-profit Mooc platform founded by Harvard and MIT that has been funded with $90 million, says the group is expanding into new directions: “Many of our learners who enrolled in a verified certificate are employed or [are] looking for new employment.”

EdX this month struck a deal with Microsoft to offer IT development courses, and has an agreement with the International Monetary Fund to offer courses in macroeconomics and finance to governments.

Steve Guggenheimer, corporate VP of developer experience at Microsoft, says the tie-up will provide new opportunities for students to create innovative services that have a meaningful impact on today’s “mobile and cloud-centric world”.

Such announcements are now common. FutureLearn, a Mooc platform funded by distance learning specialist the Open University, recently developed courses in contract management and commercial relationships with the UK government, an industry body and the University of Southampton.

Violet Okpere, group discipline excellence manager at energy major Shell, says the FutureLearn course will help people to address issues in their own sector.

She adds: “A Mooc enables people to think widely and broadly about the issues from a global perspective.”

Business is warming to the online training market. MC McBain, VP for global business development at IBM, says: “What’s very energizing about the Mooc is the number of people you can reach around the world. With mobile technology, everyone has the ability to expand their knowledge and increase their skills.”

Coursera, a Mooc provider with 12 million users that has raised $85 million in funding, has partnered with tech companies including Instagram and Snapdeal to expand its range of fee-paying business courses. It provides Verified Certificates as proof of course competition, and also industry placements.

Julia Stiglitz, head of business development at Coursera, says that several companies have joined up with its partner universities.

“Beyond being a revenue-driver, Verified Certificates also provide learners with a shareable asset that validates their achievement of a obtaining a high-demand skill,” she says.

Udacity, an online learning platform that had amassed 1.6 million users last year, runs a business unit that works with Google, Facebook and Capital One, the financial services group.

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