Running a scalable business is hard. The bigger a company gets, the more opportunities arise for things to go completely haywire. This is especially true in service-oriented businesses. While most people don’t think of educational institutions this way, they are in fact service providers. They provide education.
Consider traditional universities — universities with physical spaces and a maximum number of enrollees — as the ultimate fixed-scale business model. At any given time, the university knows and has planned for the number of students it needs to educate (among other things). The institution, with its predetermined set of services-to-be-rendered, can ensure that the quality of its service remains uniformly intact and that the issues that arise will be well within their wheelhouse to fix.
Online education programs pull the rug out from underneath universities’ feet if they are not properly equipped and supported. The idea that a student can engage with an institution outside of its campus bubble — that has usually been designed, modified and improved over decades — can be really disconcerting.
- How can a university ensure that each online student is having an experience that is on par with its traditional offering?
- How can a university address issues?
- Does a university have the bandwidth to take on an increased student enrollment load?
These are questions we come across all the time. Over the years, we have funneled our efforts into creating education models that scale while maintaining the requisite level of quality and value for students and teachers — especially in areas of education where teachers and their expertise and insight are irreplaceable.
We’ve found that doing this is much more complicated than taking the experience of one “star” professor and broadcasting it to the masses. Instead we build tools that help universities mobilize groups of experts to teach professionally, geographically and economically diverse groups of students on a large scale.
Put differently, we think of our model as the ability to scale the interactivity of the traditional classroom (one teacher to 15 students) to millions, versus the one-to-many approach of other online education programs, like MOOCS.
We understand the trepidation surrounding putting courses online, but we are at a point technologically that allows institutions to achieve massive scale without minimizing value.
From proper infrastructures to real-time data analysis, universities not only have the ability to replicate the quality of traditional education online, they also have the ability to improve those experiences on the fly. This and many other things, make the future of education look incredibly bright.