Apollo Education, the parent company of the University of Phoenix, announced the launch of a course aggregation platform called Balloon.
Through Balloon job seekers can get an overview about the skills needed for job openings in the technology space and related courses offered by providers such as Coursera, Udacity or Udemy.
The aim of Balloon is to make recruiting for tech companies more efficient. Job candidates can browse job openings on the site and learn which skills are required to apply. They can then search the course database by either the skill they need to learn or the job title. Job seekers also learn about the potential salary for the different jobs.
The service is free to use. According to The Chronicle potential revenue for the site lies in selling recruitment services to companies down the line or add courses from the University of Phoenix to the catalog.
There is a clear need in the technology sector for well-trained job applicants and most skills required to work in the knowledge economy are not taught in traditional academia. Udacity has set its focus on that specific vertical and is working closely together with tech companies to close the skill gap through the Open Education Alliance.
For Apollo Education Balloon is of course a great way to gain valuable market insights without actually having to spend money. For instance, through the platform they will gain knowledge about what jobs people are interested in and what skills employers are looking for the most. Based on this Apollo Education could (and will) shape its own offerings accordingly.
Course aggregator sites are of course nothing new. With the rapid rise of the MOOC movement and an ever growing catalog of free and reasonably priced paid courses services like Class Central, My Education Path or SkillAcademy (participant in our EdTech Pitch Battle) jumped into this niche. Whether they will be able to compete with a site that has a company with deep pockets behind it remains to be seen. But this move by Apollo Education shows that there might be a legit business, so the potential for an acquisition of a competitor by Apollo is certainly there.
- Apollo Education Group Starts Nontraditional Course Catalog | The Chronicle of Higher Education
- Udacity teams up with Google, AT&T and other tech giants for Open Education Alliance | GigaOm