It is discussed quite often what defines the success of MOOC. Some says completion rates aren’t the best way to judge MOOCs, but then what is the alternative?
I guess eventually it goes down to the objective of education. If it is to prepare people for jobs, then use employment rate and post study salary (like what B schools do). If it is to prepare people for research, then use # of papers published and # of PHDs produced. If it is to differentiate people, then use # of certificates and scores. The reason it is hard to measure learning success is that people probably have different learning agendas. Using a single metrics to measure education is fundamentally limited.
But for venture capital-backed MOOCs, there is a single metrics. Show me the money. Tell investors how much social impact your venture is brining and their primary focus will still be your profit and loss table – show me your revenue annual growth rate. Make money! Scale up! Otherwise we are gonna change the CEO! For non venture capital backed MOOCs, they have a bit of luxury. However, they also have less incentive to pivot fast.
I never stopped thinking the best way to combine education with capital. I am very aware the positive power of capitalism. Visit a Chinese state-owned company and a Chinese private-run company, one understands the power of market mechanism. At the same time, I am very aware of the mission of education. It is about providing people opportunities by equipping them with knowledge. Would pure venture capital money be able to fulfil that mission 100%? Look at the recent example of how Udacity pivoted.
For a VC-backed MOOC, show me the money (quickly)!
For a non VC-backed MOOC, congratulations you won’t be whipped so often but that might be a curse in long run!