Sunday, October 23, 2011

Nixty asks...

Q: @Nixty, a competitor to OpenClass, asks:

What happens when readily available free courses/texts help students learn better than Pearson’s closed expensive courses/texts?
What happens when we have clear research support that shows how students taking the open and free course learn more than students taking Pearson’s closed and expensive course?
Pearson’s stated aim is to make the LMS a commodity so they can sell more of their closed content and course tools. What happens when Pearson isn’t selling enough of their closed content and course tools?
Answer: Is this a trick question? Doesn't this boil down to the more general question --- What happens when a free product is better than one you pay for? There's only one conclusion I can come to - free wins that round. And 'for pay' has to come up with something worth paying for, which is the essence of competition, the arms race that drives economics to produce improvement. I believe Pearson has proven it is up to that challenge for the long haul.
Q: Later in the same post @nixty also asked:
[Pearson's] business model assumes (and this is a fundamentally flawed assumption) that they will be able to sell closed content and tools to support OpenClass. What happens when their assumption proves to be wrong?
Answer: Again, do I have to be careful of a trap? I can only see one answer. Pearson content will always have to continue to be worth money if we expect people to pay for it. Which is why we work so hard to ensure we find new and better ways of ensuring student success. The competition between pay and free will lead both modalities to innovations we haven't yet imagined.
Let the games begin!! And may the best product win!

PS - Nixty has the wrong idea about Pearson's stated aim for OpenClass. OpenClass is all forms of content, both Open and published. We are so committed to open, it's in the name.


Glen October 27, 2011 at 9:56 AM  

Adrian, glad we are having this dialog. I think it'll help flesh out our different positions. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts. You can find our post here: