Imagine if Amazon Competed in the Higher Education Marketplace?

Abundance Accountability Respect


The Challenge: You and I need continuous formal learning, and postsecondary education as it exists may not be able to give us what we want. Are you personally preparing for a lifelong investment in new learning, skill upgrades, career pivots and more? One of the hot areas at SXSW was the explosive new learning services and models that will compete or partner with traditional post secondary institutions. Companies like General Assembly, 2U, and BoxSpring Entertainment are disrupting education and tapping into this vast market. Getting a degree is a ticket, but it doesn’t mean that one has the skills employers require. The price tag students are currently paying (for example, $400k for an undergraduate degree at Harvard), is mind blowing and raising big “value flags.” And getting out of college with an undergraduate, or even a postgraduate degree, is just the first stage of a continual lifelong personal learning investment. Students are becoming more demanding and want to know how to do what they need to do… And they want to be able to learn in the way that is best for them, NOT for the provider. Hence the market is ripe for major disruption. As noted in a recent Inc. magazine article, “Compare Amazon’s ability to deliver what you want, how you want it, and when you want it, to that of the average college or university. Or even to the growing number of online universities, hybrid universities… And especially to the ‘traditional’ institutions that offer online learning options. Amazon would crush those folks.”

Story: Let’s look at what these learning disruptors are offering.

BoxSpring – Disrupt & Construct: At Boxspring we believe that learning is a privilege and can be joyful. We listen, we ask, we share, we challenge. We set our purpose and we advance.We do this openly, in collaboration and with respect. Are you ready? Feeling boxed in by old styles of training? Spring into action with a new way to learn.”

2U: We are in the midst of a transformational era in higher education. Technology is reshaping how we work and fundamentally redefining what it means to have a career, forcing us all to become lifelong learners.

In the face of this new reality, leaders across academia are confronting a clear challenge: how to fully embrace the digital era while preserving the best of what has defined their institution, often for centuries.”

I’m just giving a couple of examples for flavor. How exciting. I’m signing up to participate in the disruptive world of postsecondary learning! How about you?

What we can do about it:

  1. It does not matter what business, career, market, or work world you live in, prepare to personally invest EVERY year in more formal learning. This will be a material item in your monthly budget. If your employer invests in you that’s great and they should. But do not wait around.
  2. Familiarize yourself with the many new offerings in learning. Your traditional colleges better be digital and treat you as the customer to get your attention.
  3. If you are a traditional learning provider, it’s time to disrupt yourself.

Think big, start small, act now,

– Lorne

One Millennial View: I found a ton of value in physically attending a four-year post secondary educational institution, but that’s largely due to what you learn outside of the classroom. Dorm life, Greek life, and figuring out how to navigate around a campus, all while living around 30,000 other students isn’t really something you can learn online. A diploma is proof that you can juggle a schedule, meet deadlines, and likely survive in the work world. But we’ll see if this newest generation attending middle-school at the moment will be influenced and persuaded by disruptive, digital secondary education options. One huge setback for digital learning is the social aspect? College is also really FUN. Perhaps BoxSpring or 2U should offer WeWork spaces for strictly college aged kids to go digitally learn, and also meet new people/join social clubs/get these kids out of their parents’ house. 

– Garrett

Blog 976

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis