article in Harvard Magazine this past week in which they discussed the possibility of Harvard Business school, of which they are both affiliated, being adversely impacted by the growing popularity of online learning.
The focus on Harvard was meant to demonstrate how even the most respect, well established learning institutions are likely to be impacted by the disruptive innovation of online learning. The part of the article that caught my attention was the claim that more and more people will be learning in-context rather than at a school or university. Cost, flexibility, and specificity are three reasons that potential business students would opt NOT to attend Harvard Business school, or some similar institution.
The cost of education, especially higher education, is rising at a pace that few people can afford. This is true even of prestigious schools such as Harvard. Online learning is much cheaper.
Harvard's program is excellent, but isn't going to flex with your needs. Have a full time job, a family? Full time enrollment probably isn't going to work out to well for you. Online learning allows geographic and time flexibility.
As knowledge increases, the need for specialized training also increases. Just getting an MBA isn't going to cut it anymore. You need to get an MBA with experience with a specific product or type of business. Harvard can't provide industry specific training for everyone. Individual Businesses, with industry specific knowledge are best suited to offer this type of specialized training.
In the future, colleges and universities probably won't be the providers of advanced learning. Instead, businesses and industry organizations may provide cost effective, flexible, and focused training.