MOOCs and the Future of the Sharing Economy

Daily Genius put together this infographic based on Fred Wilson’s predictions about the future of the sharing economy. Many of the ideas can also be applied to MOOCs and other alternative forms of education:

  • Networks are replacing hierarchies, and peer networks are the most powerful. The traditional education system is built on hierarchies of tests and degrees, but MOOCs are leveling the playing field. People of all ages and all backgrounds are using MOOCs and social media to take control of their education and build personal learning networks. As a result, education is becoming available to everyone.
  • A new model of decentralized commerce. This has already become reality:The world’s largest taxi firm Uber owns no cars. The world’s most popular media company Facebook creates no content. The world’s most valuable retailer Alibaba carries no stock. And the world’s largest accommodation provider, Airbnb, owns no property. In today’s open digital landscape, degrees are arguably more of an obstacle than an advantage. MOOCs, digital badges, and other disruptive accreditation methods in education are leading to a model of education without degrees.
  • Current regulatory challenges are just scratching the surface. This is definitely true in education, where governments are looking for solutions to the student debt crisis. They are starting to urge creditors to be more flexible in recognizing alternative models, like competency-based education and MOOCs.
  • The ultimate sharing economy is a world of peers without the middlemen. As non-traditional learners continue to make up a larger portion of the student population, the education system will become more a network of peers. Will the middlemen (i.e., traditional degree-granting institutions) find they no longer have a place?

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