So the VC guys and the start-ups look at K-12 and higher education, which between them cost over $1 trillion per year in America, and much more around the world. They see businesses that are organized around communication between people and the exchange of information, two things that are increasingly happening over the Internet. Right now, nearly all of that communication and exchange happens on physical platforms—schools and colleges—that were built a long time ago. A huge amount of money is tied up in labor and business arrangements that depend on things staying that way. How likely are they to stay that way, in the long term? Sure, there are a ton of regulatory protections and political complications tied up in the fact that most education is funded by the taxpayer. As always, the timing would be difficult, and there is as much risk in being too early as too late.
Still, $1 trillion, just sitting there. And how much does it cost for a firm like Learn Capital to invest in a few people sitting around a table with their MacBook Airs? That’s a cheap lottery ticket with a huge potential jackpot waiting for whomever backs the winning education platform.
The amount of waste and duplication in education is huge. Why should tens of thousands of explain calculus every year? Why not just record the lectures and use all live teaching labor for Q&A sessions?
When universities and colleges start doing massive layoffs think of it as the freeing up of a dwindling supply of high IQ labor.
The big name universities are in a rush to go online. They are starting to feel desperate.
A few months ago, free online courses from prestigious universities were a rarity. Now, they are the cause for announcements every few weeks, as a field suddenly studded with big-name colleges and competing software platforms evolves with astonishing speed.
Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are taking off.
A group of online-learning ventures is collaborating on a new kind of free class to be offered this fall, known as a mechanical MOOC (for “massive open online course”), that will teach a computer-programming language by patching together existing resources from open-learning sites.
After software and cheap high speed connections cause a gutting of teaching staffs in most universities what comes next? Automation of medicine. The total costs of health care in the United States is well over $2 trillion. The potential for savings is therefore even larger. Though health care automation entails tackling a much harder set of problems.
|Share |||By Randall Parker at 2012 August 30 10:34 PM Education Online|