After a torrid year, can edtech companies crack professional education? – Fxsad

After a torrid year, can edtech companies crack professional education?

When massive open online courses (Moocs) entered the scene a decade ago, the accompanying online learning platforms had three major goals, says Justin Reich, director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Instructional Systems Laboratory.

First of all, they want to disrupt higher education and bring in a new system, he said. Second, they democratize universities and make them accessible to millions more people. Third, mooks can change the science of learning. “Essentially, none of the three things happened,” Dr. Reich said.

Instead, he believed that higher education had “in-housed” Moock’s model and found places where it could function without change while catering to an already well-educated population.

Many of the original MOOC providers – or edtech companies, as they now prefer to be known – have expanded from what they started as large-scale open courses to degrees, microcredits and professional development. However, this is not a particularly profitable model.

Coursera announced layoffs in November due to “low growth rates and environmental uncertainty,” edX owner 2U’s share price fell 70 percent last year, and UK-based FutureLearn was sold to Global University Systems (GUS). After posting multi-million pound losses. Udacity also laid off some employees and announced a change in management.

In the year If 2012 is famously the “Year of the Mook,” of New York TimesIn the year 2022 can be seen as “the year Mook dies”.

On the face of it, the early struggles of the Mooks make little sense. The Covid years have brought an irreversible shift to online learning and technology to the center of university life.

Diana Laurillard, professor of digital technologies in learning at UCL, said: “The epidemic was when the world realized that online education was not secondary and cheap.”

But it’s really cool, and you can do a lot of things with it. Of course, it’s not the same as meeting face-to-face, but it can be better in many ways. We need both, especially if we are interested in access, inclusion and expansion of education,” he said.

Lockdowns around the world ushered in the second coming of Moocs, with attention — and investment — on a scale not seen since 2012.

“The outbreak could have been a big moment for them,” agreed Dr. Reich. “The promise was that they could build a better infrastructure than we have and by 2020 they should have been better than the broken, crippled, plagued system.” But this time the growth could not continue.

In the year Paul Basic, a consultant who wrote a report on Muck’s business models for the EU in 2016, said the financial problems were not unexpected.

In his view, there are few positive developments since the report confirmed that the two main ways of making money – charging extra for important courses like exams or accreditations, or using Mook as a loss leader to make their customers more happy. Profitable courses such as online masters have proved difficult both without strong professional and vocational training provision.

Another source of income and growth – cooperation with universities – has also stopped. In places where university administrators were once forced to join edtech companies as the next big thing, many are showing signs of disillusionment with what they have to offer.

said Clay Shirkey, vice provost for educational technologies at New York University and an influential figure in the field. Times Higher EducationAt the World Academic Summit last October, he found edtech “overwhelming” and that the pandemic has taught the institution not to pursue technological innovation for its own sake, but to focus on teaching and collaboration. This prevented NYU from developing any new technology during the crisis.

This issue of completion cost forced Moocs from the start, and that’s because “most people find self-directed online learning too difficult, especially if we’re not learning something that’s really fun for us,” says Dr. Reich.

“What was unique about Moocs was trying to teach people without a lot of direct human involvement,” he added.

But even if you’re doing things online, human relationships are important to learning. Most of us participate in learning communities out of a sense of obligation, support, and connection with students and peers.

“Institutions have invested heavily in coaches and mentors and other human connections that help people stay on track. Many online courses rely on relatively low student-to-teacher ratios to allow for real human interactions.

For this reason, Professor Laurilard believed that the future of edtech lies in professional education. “Moocs started with great hype about opening up great institutions to everyone. They didn’t have it – it’s rubbish to talk about,” she said.

“For a long time it was seen as a solution for undergraduates. It’s not because it’s huge. The whole point is to be big, and students can’t get the personal care they need.”

Optimism, she said, is a combination of realizing the power of online learning and the potential of large-scale platforms to train professionals on the “grand challenges” the world faces.

“The focus should be on what the professional world needs in terms of updating new solutions, different ways of doing things, new, green practices. Where is all that learning going to come from?” She said.

For it to work, there had to be an incentive for students to pay, and if the qualification paid off in the workplace.

“If it’s seen as part of your professional development, if it shows that you have a particular skill – it’s valuable to them, because it’s valuable to other people around them,” Professor Laurillard said.

As such, she argued that edtech companies should form more partnerships with government ministries or large companies.

“You can convince them to create an environment where their employees or customers are happy to pay a small amount of money for certification and completion of education,” she said.

“There’s a hidden business model there. I think it’s possible, but we’re not trying to work for it. They say, ‘This won’t work; we’ll do microcredit and make rich people pay. That’s private education, and where’s the benefit? Where’s the vision in that? It’s back to the old days.’ .

Such a move towards vocational education and accredited training was “long overdue”, according to Professor Bacich, as companies need to align courses with the requirements of regulators such as Ofqual in the UK. Commonwealth, Caribbean and many other English speaking countries.

Edtech companies seem to agree that their future lies in careers. When FutureLearn was acquired by GUS in November, the people behind the deal emphasized how it would allow it to integrate with the new parent company’s AI-powered career-management system, which would differentiate the platform from its competitors.

Ben Williamson, chancellor’s fellow at the Digital Learning Research Center at the University of Edinburgh, said: “It’s important that mooks like FutureLearn are now betting on ‘artificial intelligence’ in work-based learning and career management.

“We’ve had two waves of incentives because Moocs will change HE, but that hasn’t happened – so Mooc owners are now looking for different business opportunities.

“The third wave of mock hype is certainty about the power of AI to match students to jobs. This may go down well in education policy contexts that prioritize industry employability and skills – but may also expose young people to the potential biases of automated technologies.”

Will there be a third mock wave? Dr. Reich was less sure. “I don’t think we’ll see another Mock moment for a long time,” he said.

“For education technology evangelists, it would be hard to say that things are going to change completely, at least for the next few years.”

In many ways, he argues, this is not surprising, since Muck’s revolution was so unlikely to begin with.

“There are very few things in human history where something has dramatically improved the teaching and learning process or how we organize education systems,” Dr. Reich said.

“Human development is always a game of inches. You can make learning systems better, but not something in these massive shifts. It’s improving 1,000 tiny things, little. It’s frustrating for people who want to see dramatic changes, but that’s how the field works.” no i don’t.

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