Our societal fabric has long been imprinted with a belief that education is a limited phase. After education comes employment, responsibility and commitments. Life is, for the most part, perceived to be composed of watertight components. But not anymore. Udacity strives to change that perception by creating attainable, economical and captivating courses for higher education for students across the globe with the help of learning management software.
What is Udacity?
Rooted in the philosophy that education is a fundamental right and that education and employment are symbiotic, Udacity offers individuals the opportunity to scale their careers, by taking vibrant, hands-on courses. Less listening and more doing forms the foundation of their programmes. Although the company was originally started to provide university-style courses to knowledge seekers, the company overhauled its strategy in the winter of 2013, announcing instead that it would focus on vocational courses for professionals by offering nano degrees. The very next year, it announced a partnership with Georgia Institute of Technology, offering its first Massive Online Open Degree, a master’s degree priced at $7,000.
What Technology Powers Udacity?
There is no sacrosanct technology stack for players in the learning space when it comes to learning management software. There is an array of permutations you could use to build a successful platform. Coursera, an ed tech player, has a technology stack like Udacity’s but layers its stack with additional technologies like Hadoop and Cassandra. Udemy, yet another online learning platform, features a vastly different technology suite, with frameworks like Django, Celery and Twitter Bootstrap.
For smaller ventures in the online learning space, building a technology stack from scratch can be expensive and laborious. Instead, many companies choose to purchase readily available frameworks that are tailored for online education. Pinlearn, for example, is a framework favored by many new enterprises. The technology allows entrepreneurs to set up their platform quickly without emptying their bank accounts. Also, with the host of captivating personalization themes and inbuilt features that it offers, it can give even bigger players a run for their money with e-learning management system.
What is Udacity’s Business Model?
Udacity was started as a platform to democratise education by making it accessible to everyone. In mid-2014, the company changed its approach, deciding to channel its energies into creating content around real-world applications, to bridge the gulf between education and employment using Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs).
Udacity has tried its hand at a variety of revenue models. Today, it offers complimentary courses across its catalog, but sells their certifications at a fee. Udacity calls these nano degrees, charging customers and sponsoring organisations a sum to lock in a nano degree. Of course, Udacity’s approach is unique. Coursera, whom we spoke about earlier has a different take on revenue generation. The company, that centers its programmes on university-themed courses, charges a flat fee of $49 for a course. An alternate revenue line for the company is through specialisation programmes. The company sells a bouquet of courses to a customer, followed by an application-based capstone project. These courses cost anywhere between $300 and $600. You don’t need to start big with your courses if you’re just entering the E-learning space. By rationing your funds among a cost-effective technology like Pinlearn, a powerful launch strategy and digital sponsorships, you could penetrate the market just as successfully with online course software.
Udacity has partnered with technology big wheels like Google, Facebook and Cisco to develop the content for its courses.
Udacity’s captive audience is composed of professionals who are looking to augment their skills or weave their way up an organisation. Udacity’s vocational courses have been wildly successful, recording a completion rate of 60%. It currently hosts over 4 million learners, with 11,000 of those having picked a nanodegree.
The Way Forward for Udacity
Udacity has been inventive in its approach, ensuring that it stays future-fit in the online education space. Here are some of the innovations it has recently announced.
The Self-Driving Cars Programme
Udacity’s Self-Driving Car Nanodegree programme saw tremendous enrolment, with more than 6,000 learners having registered. Corporate partners included Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Delphi, amongst a spate of others. But what was most incredible, was that the programme resulted in a spinoff company called Voyage. Voyage is singularly focused on the self-driving arena, and intends to launch a self-driving platform that customers can use when they want to hail a ride. Udacity has proven that learning can translate to results, and incredible results at that.
New Skills-Based Nanodegrees
Udacity isn’t done refining its catalogue of courses. It is continually reinventing. Recently, the company revealed that it had added two new nano degrees to its portfolio: one on digital marketing, the other on robotics. Udacity wants to keep up with 21st century skills, and adding relevant nano degrees on a regular basis is part of the plan. It has also tied up with 21 new hiring partners across the world. The company released an announcement of the intention behind these collaborations. “Each of these companies is eager to engage with Udacity talent because they know our graduates will have the necessary skills to fill their most important roles. Our hiring partners provide key insights that help us understand how to build the most valuable programs possible, and they’re each ready to fast-track graduates for job consideration as new openings emerge,” they said.
Udacity has addressed many gaps in the education-meets-employment market, but there are region-specific gaps that hold immense potential for new businesses. By addressing these gaps with the help of e-learning management system, you can be a catalyst for change. Get your business started with Pinlearn and make skills available to everyone in your geography. The world needs you to make a difference.