Summary: Coursera’s introduction of a monthly subscription model for parts of its MOOC platform is not a Netflix like revolution of higher education but a mere adoption of the very successful revenue model used by e-learning platforms such as lynda.com or Pluralsight.
Of course, adding a matching and accepted payment scheme to a growing choice of tech focused Specializations courses is a logic step to take if you want your slice of this fast growing and very lucrative market segment. But it also navigates Coursera on a collision course with the aforementioned established players and the deep pockets of LinkedIn..
Oh, and what about disrupting higher education by making it accessible to everyone? iversity, Germany’s MOOC platform that was recently saved from bankruptcy, might have the answer to that question.
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As a keen follower of all things edtech you will likely have noticed that MOOC platforms like Udacity and now Coursera are moving away from classic higher education subjects and increasingly into tech skills. Startups like Udemy served that vertical early on. If you think about it, it is somewhat a self-fulfilling prophecy that a Silicon Valley startup is serving the ecosystem it exists in.
Self-paced learning platforms, ranging from tech skills and lifelong learning portals to MOOCs in higher education, have been largely relying on pre-recorded content and asynchronous interaction in forums. This approach, while certainly cost effective, has also been identified as its major drawback as it only too often leads to demotivated, disconnected learners and high dropout rates due to the lack of direct human interaction.
MOOC platform Coursera announced that it has closed part of a Series C round. The first closing totalled $49.5 million led by New Enterprise Associates (NEA) and joined by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB), International Finance Corporation (IFC), and Times Internet (TIL).
Coursera announced its entrance into the Brazilian / Portuguese MOOC market through partnerships with the University of São Paulo (USP), the State University of Campinas (UNICAMP), the Lemann Foundation and the web portal R7.
Brazil represents Coursera’s fifth largest user base behind the US, India, China and UK.