Competitor Update: Coursera Coming to Eat Your Lunch
Mar 11, 2018
Achieving your enrollment goals got a lot tougher this week thanks to Coursera – so the question is, what are you going to do about it?
Just the other day, Coursera announced the launch of a bachelor science in computer science from University of London with pricing starting at $13,300. (For details, click here.)
And their plan is to expand to 20 online degree programs by 2019. (For more information, click here.)
That’s in addition to online masters programs from institutions such as the University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign. (For a complete list, click here.)
Now add to that their focus on lifelong learning, and stackable workforce certificates…and start watching your adult audience shrink because these options are convenient, flexible, relevant and affordable.
What’s your plan to combat this competitive threat?
Do nothing and hope your adult student audience ignores the option?
Do you call them up and start working with them?
Do you focus on fighting them with new programs, new pricing strategies, more online offerings, and/or competency-based learning?
Make sure that a regular part of your market research includes asking your audiences (prospective students, current students, former students/graduates as well as corporations, government agencies, and non-profits) who they feel is the "competition". Aided and unaided.
If Coursera starts popping up more frequently...you might be seeing the early signs.
Also, remember to ask them about lifelong learning and workforce certificates.
Lastly, make sure you understand what your institution's vision is and how that impacts your program and service strategies.
If you're a 4-year college, offering undergraduate and graduate degree programs in the same areas as Coursera...what's your strategic vision and plan? Do you need to increase the resources for developing more online degree programs faster so you can get to market before their 2019 date? Do you invest more in promotion to get increase enrollments now, before they launch? Do you need to get to work on how your programs are more uniquely valuable to your audience than Coursera's?
Community Colleges: Add California to the Mix
If you're a community college and Coursera's focus on workforce training/re-training might hit your wallet, what's your strategic vision and plan? How will you compete? Who exactly are they trying to serve? How does their offering compare to your own? What can you do in this area that they can't or are highly unlikely to do?
And this article from NPR about California's plans to create a new online community college for people in the workforce makes things even more exciting! (Check out the article.)
Is your best bet developing customized solutions for local corporations, government agencies, and non-profits...do you ramp up the investments so you can grab market share? Do you invest more in promotion to get increase enrollments now, before they launch? Do you need to get to work on how your programs are more uniquely valuable to your audience than Coursera's?
Or do you just sit back, watch the world pass you by and wonder to yourself where everyone went?
Blog: Do You Know What Your Competition Is Doing?
Blog: Competitive Intelligence - What is it? Why do you need it?
Webinar Archive: Competitive Intelligence 101
Sites to check out
Lifelong Learning: Reimagining Higher Education: https://www2.deloitte.com/insights/us/en/industry/public-sector/reimagining-higher-education.html
Perkins Collaborative Resource Center: Mapping Upward: Stackable Credentials that Lead to Careers https://cte.ed.gov/initiatives/community-college-stackable-credentials
Patrick McGraw is VP of Higher Educaton Marketing Services and has more than 25 years experience in market research, competitive intelligence, business intelligence including database marketing and CRM, strategic planning, brand development and management as well as operations/campaign management. His work has consistently helped his clients and employers develop and implement more efficient ways to attract and retain profitable customers, enter new markets and launch new products. His areas of focus include the education, hospitality, travel and tourism, hi-tech, telecommunications, financial services, and retail industries on both the agency and customer sides.