MITx and “coffeeshopification”

Via In the future, everything will be a coffee shop.

…imagine a personnel manager at a mid-sized corporation who’s looking for an employee with some particular knowledge. There are two candidates: one with an appropriate college degree from the local state school, a second with relevant MITx certificates. Let’s say all other things between the candidates are equal. Which should the manager choose?

Having just enrolled in a few free online courses (several CS courses via Stanford-originated Coursera and the MITx pilot course on electronic circuits), I think the model has merit, but I doubt it will evolve in the way people expect.

For MITx and other “open learning” initiatives to catch on, they will need to deliver measurable competency improvements to early adopters. By “early adopters”, I don’t mean enrolled students; I’m referring to the first employers who take the risk that the emerging generation of online learning tools confers knowledge comparable to that gained through traditional methods.

It will be crucial to integrate interactive assignments rather than the lecture/reading model common throughout postsecondary education. A few weeks of Codecademy’s Code Year have given me a working understanding of Javascript (from literally zero experience), and I cannot wait to see where the platform goes once the promised 3rd-party lessons come online.


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