Google Course Builder
Seeing as you're reading this post, I imagine it would be reasonable to assume that you have an interest in online education and training. You might therefore have heard of Google's new Course Builder product
It's their first foray into online education and I'm willing to bet that it will be used by lots of people, to limited effect.
My guess is that this product will evolve fast, in typical Google fashion. They'll learn how to improve things based on data from users but they'll need to iterate fast as well, because they're heading into a massively competitive arena. There's lots of smart money following the disruptive technologies around online learning at the moment and there are some real technical leaps being achieved.
The view from Coracle is that we're delighted to see Google coming to this particular playground. It really adds weight to the fact that the sector is ripe for change and that online education can help improve people's lives. That said, we're not convinced that the approach taken by Google will help as many people as they hope.
Why you ask?
Well, the first thing to notice is that to use their course builder, you need to have skills in:
- ideally Python.
The professional bodies, institutes and companies that Coracle work with generally don't have these skills in-house. Experience has taught us over the years that membership organisations and bodies looking to train people have content (over which they wish, rightly, to protect their IP) and that finding a partner such as Coracle to work with to deliver appropriate courses helps build engaging and social learning environments.
There are some missing features from Google's offering at the time of writing...
- SCORM (we can debate the merits of that another time!)
- social learning
- monetization (not everyone wants their content out there for free, see para above for IP comment)
In summary, online education is real and growing, but, just because a bunch of tools are available, it doesn't mean that it's necessarily that simple to put together a programme that will achieve your aims.
Working with a partner, such as Coracle, could end up saving you money in the medium to long term.