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One of the potentials of online learning is Ala Carte access to defined learning experiences…formerly known as “courses”. Rather than “enrolling” at one university or college, students anywhere in the world, and at any point in their learning journey, can pick and choose, and aggregate their own customized learning resources.

Given the breadth of its coverage, the CORE curriculum may be challenging to some students, but it takes advantage of being a native online product. (In Britain, a paperback version of the e-book is also available.) The presentation features lots of graphs and charts, and, in some cases, students can download data sets to create their own. The quizzes are interactive, and the presentation is enlivened by potted biographies of famous dead economists (Smith, Keynes, etc.) as well as video interviews with eminent living ones, such as Thomas Piketty.

Well, that’s the trend anyway, and with the costs of higher-ed being what they are, there’s certainly a great deal of incentive to achieve knowledge and competency in alternate ways. One might speculate how long this transition away from being at one higher education institution at a time…to multiple access points to learning resources…will take. Obviously, there’s a great deal of sunk costs in the present higher ed institutions that will support stasis.

Generally, the options are already there with low cost, or free, access to top academic courseware online. The hangup, the bottleneck, as PSA predicted some years ago now, is the certification gates. Can innovators in the US establish some form of certification that employers will adopt as equivalent to college degrees? And how long before there are enough opportunities to support DIY employment where certification issues might be moot?

Here’s one new example of online learning at higher ed level, that doesn’t require affiliation or enrollment with an expensive institution of higher learning. 

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