What We’re Learning From Online Education (daphne Koller)

Daphne Koller is the CEO of Coursera, a digital education platform that connects people, ideas, and community with the world. Her travels as a full-time student have inspired her to reevaluate what a “human” education needs to be.

Every workplace is changing, a consequence of the constant pace of the information economy.

In response, universities, news organizations, and other institutions are seeking creative ways to offer online courses.

The online market is projected to grow more than twenty-fold in the next 10 years to more than $150 billion, according to market research firm Global Industry Analysts. Companies like Google, Adobe, Amazon, Facebook, Slack, and Netflix are offering massive open online courses (MOOCs), too.

Digital content market research firm TechNavio estimates that MOOCs, edX and for-profits, led by Udacity and Coursera, accounted for 90 percent of the 11,252 MOOCs that went live in 2018.

What has the market for online education looked like during the past five years? I interviewed the founder of an edX student and Learner, daphne Koller, to find out.

What are some of the biggest trends you’re seeing right now in education?

Between 2013 and 2016, there was an explosion of MOOCs. The number of registered MOOCs has increased from more than 2,600 courses at the end of 2013 to 40,222 courses at the end of 2016.

Demand for MOOCs was so high that one of the big MOOC providers abruptly shutdown in 2016 because demand from learners had surpassed supply.

And in the last few years, courses for licensure in certain professions, and shorter-term courses have become more popular.

As digital learning has become more accessible, and the distance between students and instructors has decreased, a wider variety of opportunities is available for learning.

Why does edX’s platform allow students to have greater control over their learning experience?

We fundamentally believe in the idea that learning is a human right, and the more an individual can take ownership of their own education, the better they will feel and the more likely they will be to learn.

To facilitate this, we work closely with learners to develop and tailor curricula that are specific to learners’ strengths and needs. For example, learners might not have time to complete a full course in just a few days, so we make it easy for learners to dip in and out and focus on their most important learning topics.

We also developed the Rocket System to make it possible for students to take quizzes in real time. As learners take in material from multiple subject areas, the quizzes help them sort their strengths and weaknesses from their weak spots, which in turn helps them learn faster and adapt to difficult content.

There are places where learners are unable to come to campus for traditional education. How has edX offered a platform to distance learners?

We are delighted to have been able to serve students from 185 countries and interact with them in many locations, including in India, India, and Korea.

To cater to the growing demand of learners worldwide, we launched a new kind of subscription on edX in April. Our Rocket System allows learners to access a range of features within the edX platform to speed up and simplify their learning experience. This feature enables learners to use answers to common MOOC quizzes in real time at home, and allows them to save and refer them to courses they would like to take again.

What are you most excited about now with edX? What have you learned from the experience so far?

As we’ve grown since its launch, our objective has been to ensure that learners and their teachers are able to enjoy their EdX experience as much as we would like to enjoy ours.

We look forward to continuing to expand the EdX community and bringing more of the amazing content and educational opportunities we believe are so valuable to learners.

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