MOOCs continue to soar

In the last couple of years, online education has exploded. Pioneered by Salman Khan, a graduate of MIT and Harvard Business School and the founder of non-profit educational site Khan Academy, the rise of online institutions has been stellar.

And investors have poured into MOOCs. The movement is spearheaded by US-based Coursera, which has accrued 17,000,000 enrolled students since its launch in 2012. Perhaps surprisingly, the platform was established by former tenured Stanford professors, who ditched job security for scalability. Coursera has raised a gargantuan $65m to date, raising the big bucks from the likes of John Doerr, a venture capital veteran who has backed Amazon, Google and Zynga, who sits on its board.

So far the movement has remained largely academic, with courses spanning calculus, neurology and business studies. But theory could be ditched for practice, thanks to Tandem Education.

Born of a frustration with traditional education, Tandem Education launched in 2011 and vowed to take a more vocational approach to teaching photography. And that approach to creative education has been digitised thanks to the launch of Tandem’s online education platform. The online offering has seen the number of pupils registered on Tandem’s HNC courses double, opening the accredited qualification up to many more students regardless of location.

It is hard to separate the rise of online education from the socioeconomic context. Amidst economic woes and joblessness, our CVs need to be stronger than ever yet so do our bank balances. As a result, event the most dedicated among us are unlikely to eschew a salary in favour of personal and professional development.

But the beauty of online education is flexibility; you can study from wherever you are, whenever you wish. It might be time to put an end to evenings spent on Netflix, don the headphones and grab a pen. Make sure you’re sitting comfortably – there’s studying to be done.