By Andrew Trounson
Reskilling and upskilling will become lifelong pursuits in a technology-driven future, forcing qualifications to become “bite-sized” with “just-in-time” delivery, according to one of the world’s pioneers in the global phenomena that is free online learning, or Massive Open Online Courses.
“The role of learning will be pervasive in everyday life,” said Daphne Koller, a Stanford mathematics professor who completed her masters degree at 18, but who switched direction in 2012 to co-found one of the world’s biggest MOOCs, Coursera, in 2012.
That year she was named among Time magazine’s top 100 influential people and $US85 million of investment capital has since been put into the venture that boasts 14 million registered learners largely taking free courses.
More than two million people have now completed a Coursera course.
Once tipped to be threats to traditional universities, MOOCs have partnered with universities to push new forms of online delivery involving short videos and quizzes that are making traditional lectures redundant.
It is in delivering specific skills such as business and computing, however, that MOOCS are really shaking up education, and look like even making some money.
MOOC-like providers are betting that Generation Y, businesses and possibly governments will increasingly look for short courses to fill chronic skills gaps rather than rely on traditional qualifications.
Already, people are prepared to pay for certificates of completion that offer no accreditation towards a higher qualification.
Ireland-based MOOC provider ALISON is keeping its certificates and diplomas free to students, and is instead raising revenue by offering employers paid-for computer tests with which they can verify the skills of ALISON certificate holders.
US MOOC Udacity has shifted its focus to partnering with the tech industry to deliver vocational paid-for “nanodegrees”.
Similarly, Coursera has moved to recruit corporates to sponsor member universities to develop courses tailored to industry needs.
[ Full article available at The Australian: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/higher-education/bite-sized-qualifications-future/story-e6frgcjx-1227486079111 ]