The growth in online education over the last year has been of interest to me. I really want the initiative to succeed by all means because I strongly believe that if someone is interested in good educational material from good sources, then the barrier should be reduced and Internet can play a great role in enabling that.
But one needs to be pragmatic also. In my blog post 6 months back, I had highlighted some challenges in the model that I was seeing out there. The key problems in my opinion were acceptance by organisations for the certificates that the online courses would give out, online identity and bandwidth.
It was interesting to see Coursera, one of the leading online education site address this recently. They plan to give out a certificate for a fee, in addition to validation of the candidate. On top of that, there is also talk of a potential business model to match candidates who took the course with prospective employers. You can check out the announcement here: http://blog.coursera.org/post/37200369286/coursera-and-your-career.
One of the biggest challenges that organizations face today is getting candidates with the right skills. The problem is acute and with people flocking to the IT industry, it is a time consuming, costly and many a times unsuccessful process. I believe these steps taken by Coursera could go a long way to in addressing this. It will not come as a surprise to see more Online education sites take a similar approach, maybe they already have in their way.
The next challenge in my opinion is to educate organizations that places like Coursera could be tapped for the right people.