How would you measures success?

Interesting to reflect on what Clay Christensen shared about

(a) How we measure success in our life?

(b) Why successful companies fail?

We often measure success in organization based on the achievement of business goals, and for business organisations, often on the results achieved, such as profits made, market share and growth, or increase in customers’ base and satisfaction, or the degree of technology innovation the company has adopted etc.  Is that really guaranteeing success for the business?  Is such success sustainable?  Not always, in the long run, as Clay explained in the video.  That may just be a short term measure of success. There could be competitors entering into market, where they may offer a cheaper, simpler and often lower quality product or service.  These niche products then penetrate into the big business market, gradually grow and beat the big businesses, and thus disrupting the successful businesses in a surprising way.

There are numerous examples that we could quote based on such a pattern of disruption: “Examples of companies that have not survived include Kodak, a firm over 100 years old, Blockbuster and Borders.   It is likely that each of us has done business with all of these firms, and today Kodak and Blockbuster are in bankruptcy and Borders has been liquidated.  Disruptions are impacting industries like education; Coursera and others offering these massive open online courses are a challenge for Universities.” (Coursera)

The new technologies that had brought the big established companies down weren’t better or more advanced – they were actually worse.  (Christensen) The new products were usually cheaper and easier to use, and so people or business would soon buy these products.

Is such technology disruption also revealed in the present MOOC movement?  MOOC as a new format and platform of online education has led Higher Education to re-think what and how they need to adapt and respond to the changes to competition, this time between the MOOC provision as alternative education options.

This paper on MOOC (Bremer, 2011) provides an insider look into MOOCs.

How effective are MOOCs in learning and education?  MOOC may not be very effective if measured in a traditional way.

The real problem, though, is that more than 90% of these would-be learners don’t finish. Many don’t even start the courses for which they are registered. And a lot of those who finish don’t take another one. That means the number of people actually learning anything substantial is much less massive than the PR suggests.

This is difficult to measure success based on 5 to 15% completion rate, in the case of MOOCs.  These depend on how we measure success, as we could see that such disruptive technology (MOOCs) could gradually creep in and takes hold as a mainstream, exactly like what we have seen with the news media, where the internet and various niches media providers are now superseding the dominance of “major providers”.  Would this phenomenon be repeated with higher education, where MOOCs take a center stage in providing HE?

Stephen in this evaluation of MOOC says:

The process perspective asks whether the MOOC satisfied the criteria for successful networks.  The outcomes perspective looks at the MOOC as a knowing system.

Under a connectivist framework, both process and outcomes perspective would relate to the criteria of success of networks and system, especially when it is adopted by the institutions.

Do you think MOOC be for you and your institution? What is the reality?

If the MOOC medium for educational delivery is not right for your institution, fine. No one says that it has to be, but you must do something to strategically address the underlying message. If you decide to ignore the message that MOOCS are trying to teach us and make only a token effort at helping your organization become more accessible, more flexible, and more affordable, then you will wake up in the not-too-distant future to a bankrupt institution and ask, “What happened?”

In this connection, MOOC has shaken the belief that the century old traditional Higher Education of mass lecture is here to stay, but also add to the uncertainties of where Higher Education should be heading, in view of the disruptive nature of the MOOCs that those institutions have embraced.  There are further myths that are challenged by both MOOC providers and supporters, and those don’t feel comfortable with the MOOCs as part of the “mainstream” education.

Should we measure success in education based on whether MOOC could revolutionize Higher Education or not?

I think success is an emergent “property” when it comes to education, and just as Clay has mentioned, the higher level of personal success does not always relate to how much one possesses in terms of wealth, or personal achievement, that would result in immediate gratification.

The long term success lies with our continuous strive for personal growth, by helping ourselves, and that of helping others.  Can we measure such success using objective criteria?  May be we need to re-define what success means when it comes to learning, both personally and socially.

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