Part III – The Big Picture
Huge Opportunities in Bringing Lifelong Learning Online
Learning is now a lifelong activity. It’s no longer sufficient to earn a credential through college and graduate or professional school. To be successful, people invest in learning new skills and technologies, and developing their personal capabilities. Whether it’s mastering time management and personal productivity, being resilient under stress, communicating effectively, or applying project management techniques… there’s more to learn every year.
Outside the traditional education system, we also see a lot of opportunities in online learning in the forms of personal and professional development for adults. There is so much to learn that it is a lifelong activity and needs cannot be met by school systems.
Traditionally, lifelong learning took place in workshops and at conferences, through personal coaching, or through self-study with a book or video. But just as technology is transforming higher education (Watch this TED video), lifelong learning is rapidly moving online.
Online courses for personal and professional development offer enormous new opportunities for both experts and students.
Experts have the opportunity to leverage their time and expertise — to help more people and grow their business online.
Students benefit from the ease of access and low cost of online programs. Instead of paying thousands of dollars and spending days to fly to a seminar, they can learn from an online program in a way that fits their schedule, and at a fraction of the cost.
A great example that showcases the financial benefits of online learning comparing to traditional methods are the offerings of one of our coaches, Patti Digh. Patti offers her expertise through both local workshops and online programs. Her four-day “Creative is a Verb” retreat hosted in Marshall, NC costs $1275, and on top of it you need to cover traveling costs. The price and location limit make it inaccessible for many people. At the same time, Patti opened an online course “VrebTribe program” on ruzuku based on the same content that costs $only 375. Not only is the price much more affordable, the course lasted for over a month, so students can choose when to take it at their own home. The online option enabled Patti to help hundreds more people at a much more affordable price.
Internet is such a powerful tool that is able to deliver contents all over the world at a fraction of the price, with the time of engagement controlled in the hands of the audience instead of the presenter. This presents a huge advantage and great opportunities for online learning.
Ruzuku’s vision for the future of lifelong learning online
Large-scale online courses, often called massively open online courses (MOOCs), are changing the landscape of higher education.
Our vision is to create MOOCs for lifelong learning with ruzuku.
We help authors, speakers, coaches, and bloggers to quickly publish and charge for an online course. Our initial target market is individual bloggers, authors and coaches who are looking for ways that better leverage their time, expertise, and existing fan-base to make more money doing what they love.
We believe there are unique challenges in bringing lifelong learning online, and platforms that support lifelong learning must:
- Make it easy for independent experts to structure their knowledge into step-by-step online programs.
- Encourage activity-based learning, in which participants take action and respond to questions and exercises rather than passively reading or watching videos.
Support engaged learning and accountability.
Encourage peer-to-peer learning and knowledge sharing through online community.
Support live interaction with a caring and knowledgeable instructor or coach.
In future posts, we’ll share our ideas for bringing lifelong learning online.