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Decentralizing education: how startups are dismantling the university

This article was first published on 27 November 2012 and is based on at article from KurzweilAI.

While I suspect there will always be a role for Universities as we’ve known them, the sector’s fundamental value proposition is under increasing pressure from a group of challengers who are very deliberately focused on disrupting the old education order. Sometimes disruption happens as a form of collateral damage or unintended consequence of someone taking action aimed primarily at doing something better. However, in this instance the pressure is building specifically because there are people with the intellectual, physical and reputational capital who, in addition to wanting to make education better, also have a stuffy, conventional, backward-looking university sector squarely in their sights. 

Developments on this front are also instructive because they illustrate how quickly a tipping point can creep up on you.  On-line education has been around for many years and distance education for even longer.  I suspect though that the incumbents in the university sector have been dismissive of it as a fringe offering of substantially inferior quality to an old-fashioned bricks and mortar university education.

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