The business of online learning

Published on March 31, 2020   19 min

Other Talks in the Series: Online Learning for Business Education

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Hi there and welcome to my Henry Stewart Talk on the business of online learning. My name is Maebh Coleman and I work as a full-time academic in the School of Marketing for Ireland's newest university, Technological University, Dublin.
So this discussion is an introduction to the business of online learning, and in this discussion, we're going to use an entrepreneurial approach. So we're very much looking at the person as an entrepreneur within a vast global ecosystem that can stretch across countries and across skills to make one product that students and learners participate in, in variety of different formats. The first thing I'm going to talk about is what the business means, what is it, what do people do within it, and then move on to a discussion of the supply chain which includes the processes and steps involved in developing, designing, and delivering an online education. Then we'll talk about business models and potential clients that someone may have and who the key users are of online education. Finally we'll provide an overview of opportunities and challenges in this area and refer back to some of the other talks in this series for help.
So firstly, what is this business? In one of my previous talks, we talked about online education as a disruptive technology which has changed the face of education, but this isn't just for universities. It's changed the way we've learned in a variety of different contexts from everyday questions and queries that we have and how we find information, to the way that we participate in more formal education, which we can pay for or which can also be free. There's many different emerging facets of this industry. There's many different assumptions and trends. The format, the variety, and the provision change depending on the nature of the learning taking place. So in this business, there's a huge variety of media and mode that people learn. For example, from the simplest online learning query, looking on Google when you have a question to becoming part of a more formal personal skills-based training course, online videos and online communities, to work-based skills within your own workplace, to university qualifications. So this business encompasses a very broad spectrum of learning media and learning modes, and students themselves. What this does from an entrepreneurial perspective though is provide a lot of variety and opportunity for those who wish to participate in this exciting ecosystem.