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Coursera: how to make education available for everyone 📘💻

Country: the USA
Valuation: $7 billion
Business model: integrator

This is a leading educational ecosystem in the world. Coursera connects students with universities, and company-employers. Universities and companies design educational courses, and Coursera sells them or distribute for free. Overall, the service includes 3,000 courses used by 36 million people from 190 countries.

Idea
The concept of Coursera — to combine all the courses of leading universities on a single website. The project aims to change people’s life by means of education. Today more than 90 universities collaborate with the platform. However, online learning is considered to have loads of drawbacks like the lack of control, homework, and limitations.

Hence, Coursera came up with a brilliant solution. Unlike podcasts, the company posts an entire course program and has its own control system, exams, and credits.

In addition, users can buy extra learning materials, acquire university certificates, and get tutors’ help. Coursera is so far the most successful project in the distant learning field.

How it started
The founders are Andrew Ng and Daphne Koller — professors from Stanford’s university. Over 10 years, the company has become the world largest provider of online courses. In 2011, Andrew and Daphne generated a concept that hadn’t existed before. It implies control over students, home tasks, and exams.

In 2013, Coursera introduced a system of paid certificates. They would confirm that a student has passed all the course stages. It would include homework completion, test and exam passing. The user would be identified by handwriting peculiarities and a webcam photo. Such certificates cost $29-$99 and brought in $4 million to the company in the first year.

In 2014, Coursera launched complex course kits for in-depth studies. That was another breakthrough in online education: in the first five months, the project raised $800,000. Besides, the company started to offer educational courses for the staff of corporative clients — employers. Coursera charges $400 yearly for each employee.

Advantages
A multilingual educational program helps expand the Coursera community globally. The courses are translated into 120 languages, and some of them have double and triple translations. The variety of formats including audio, video, and text materials keep students involved.

The function of control over learning has also become a unique competitive feature among other platforms for remote learning.

Investments
Coursera’s idea appealed to many venture investors. The major ones are New Enterprise Associates and Kleiner Perkins. They have invested over $210 million within 4 rounds. Overalls the project raised $446 million.

Nowadays
Due to lockdowns, Coursera keeps growing and generating cash at a rapid pace. However, according to the forecasts, 50% of jobs are bound to be automatized in the nearest 10 years. Therefore, the major mission — help study those who want to get ready for tomorrow. Many of new specialties are going to be related to computers, data processing, and a new kind of business.

Have you ever used Coursera? What do you think about its concept? Share in the chat 💬


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