What would post xMOOCs look like?

I reckon many institutions are still pondering the way ahead, despite the millions of participants joining Coursera, Udacity, and edX.

In this report on Understanding MOOC trend there are some hints as to what MOOCs current trends are and the implications of new and emerging teaching tools and platforms on Higher Education and the Institutions.  These would soon become a threat to many traditional, small or private Higher Education Institutions.

What I would foresee is MOOC behaving as the disruptive innovation as charted out in this paper – Summary of “Disruptive Technologies: Catching the Wave” (by Joseph L. Bower and Clayton M. Christensen) by Maria Teplykh and Tatyana Mikhailova.

There are strategies highlighted in the paper which signify how elite institutions might be employing to combat the competitors, based on the establishment of a separate institution (MOOC provider) to adopt the disruptive innovation (MOOC), in order to counter balance the “weakened” mainstream courses.

What would happen next in around five – ten years time?  What would post-xMOOCs look like?

I would offer these 4 scenarios as the possible education futures.

Scenario 1 (most likely)

The MOOCs would gradually take over a substantial portion of the markets, followed by privatization of the education business.  This is inevitable, as the innovation (MOOC) itself seems to offer great value to both institutions and learners.  However, once the “free education” has gone through the development stage of the MOOC cycle, the fee-for-service would set in, so as to compensate for the enormous investments and to articulate its pathway back into the mainstream delivery.

Photo: From Google Image


Eventually, xMOOCs would become the mainstream for some of the elite institutions, with many Higher Education institutions configuring themselves with courses and disciplines designed for the Niche market, functioning as another potential disruptive innovation based on social networks and certification and assessment centers.

There could also be likely a change in pedagogy towards a hybrid approach – with Mastery Learning and instructivist approaches combined with a connectivist/social constructivist approach when social networks and LMS/discussion forums are exploited.

This would likely be a re-configuration of the whole Higher Education Business, where Education Chains would consist of numerous Universities and Education Providers.  The Universities would likely be focused on the research and development, with a portion of OOCs (Open Online Courses) run in collaboration with Private and Education Providers where profit-making would be based principally on Venture Capitalists.

There would still be public Universities running based on public funding and support, though these would likely be run in an alliance form as only limited number of institutions could compete with the Education Chains.

Scenario 2 (likely)

Here most of the xMOOCs would be absorbed back into the institutions, where the giant elite institutions offer courses based principally on the flipped classroom on a fees per assessment basis.  Here teaching is “free”, but mentoring on a one-on-one or one-on-a group or a cluster would also require a fee per mentoring basis.

The flipped classroom would also be used as the main ways of engaging with global learners, and to ensure that both mainstream and MOOCs are here to stay.

Photo: From the flipped classroom post.

flipped classroom model

flipped-classroom (1)

Scenario 3 (likely)

xMOOCs are re-configured into xOOCs where these online courses would be run mainly by private providers and Higher Education Institutions.  These online courses would likely be the by-products of the disruptive innovation of MOOCs though they would be taught by “selected” super-professors and assessed through assessment centres run by HE institutions and Private Institutions in conjunction.  Degrees courses would still be run, though they are awarded based on competency based education, rather than a time-based credit hours.

Scenario 4 (may be)

Higher Education Institutions would be run using a diversified education model, where some mainstream courses are converted into online courses, whilst majority courses would be run at a postgraduate and research level.  Undergraduate programs and continuing education programs would be offered in collaboration with a consortium of education and corporate providers, and social media platforms or providers on a shared profit basis.

In summary, MOOCs would likely become a disruptive innovation, where they would gradually be taken up by many Higher Education Institutions as mainstream delivery for a while.  Four scenarios are offered as possible education futures.


18 thoughts on “What would post xMOOCs look like?

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  11. Interesting ideas about the business models at the moment, it is not easy to find coherent writing which offers ways forward to either recover costs or generate revenue. As a public employee working for a government body that is also a trading fund – it doesn’t mean that we charge for everything per se, e.g. in our copyright terms
    “As a Trading Fund, the MHRA must generate income from the sale and licensing of our services, products and information. There are two kinds of fees: royalties and fixed fees”

    “Exceptional concessions may be granted to organisations or individuals for academic or educational purposes. Where a concession is granted to an organisation or individual, the same concession will be granted to like organisations or individuals in like circumstances.

    If we benefit from the re-use of our information, we may consider offsetting any fees against the value of the benefit. For example: if you provide us with new information that we can use to improve our products; if your product or service improves safety.”


    We’re not looking at the same scale required for MOOCs so no need to be massive but the principles are not so different.

    With fees being charged for higher education in the UK and the resulting drop in student numbers, there may also be an in-between – particularly with the ongoing rise in learning analytics where learners may decide that studying for a 3/4/5 yr degree is no longer worth it and won’t wait for analytics to influence that decision – even from an elite. If they can opt out after a period and learn with their peers with a community learning or group learning or 1:1 learning or partnerships with other students without waiting for institutional partnerships to be formalised.

    Students forming groups to study and decide if they want to pay for education as a group will be more discerning and more informed than individual students applying for higher education of several years whether on or offline.

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