If you only have a few seconds to pitch your idea to a prospective partner, it’s entirely logical that you might frame your business case using some of the successful, popular, or (admittedly) over-hyped names in recent business history.
But how can you set them up successfully using Moodle in a way that prevents the slip-ups, or outright backlash, faced by the original companies, and that still offers opportunities to create original real value and innovation? Here are our takes.
Netflix: Pick, choose, and binge Moodle Activities
What it can be: A subscription service of content with a machine learning-powered recommendations engine, allowing for self-pacing, endless, ubiquitous consumption.
What it doesn’t have to be: An outdated and often painfully incomplete library made up of relatively few gems and millions of “independent” (low-quality, that is) items. Looking at you, Amazon Inspire!
Word of advice: A content subscription model in education can be a wonderful way to entice students to binge on learning lessons across subjects wide in breadth and depth while offering plenty of freedom to creators. Watch out for excessive focus on algorithms for recommendations as they tend to neglect “genre fatigue,” pushing topics or types we were looking forward to at some point but aren’t anymore.
Uber: A Moodle teacher will be with you in 5min
What it can be: A fast-and-easy resource-sharing solution. Profit from your idleness and get services from idle people at a discount.
What it doesn’t have to be: A hothouse of questionable (if not predatory) business, people, and privacy management practices.
Word of advice: Crowdsourcing is still a promising concept whose reputation gets tarnished by companies who misbehave, at no fault of the original premise. Make sure your business is sustainable for you and all participants before you decide to conquer every market where you operate at all costs.
Airbnb: Learn like a local
What it can be: A chance to live mind-bending, non-standard experiences with the company of a knowledgeable human.
What it doesn’t have to be: A discount guesthouse where money excuses all kinds of outrageous behaviors.
Word of advice: If you are getting into the sharing economy, I cannot stress enough the importance of putting culture first. Part of what makes this model valuable and rewarding is the opportunity to interact with different people, customs, and playing rules while you access products and services.
Kickstarter: Support the development of the learning interventions you care about
What it can be: An opportunity to support great ideas and your favorite makers, often through direct interaction and feedback. Being part of the professional and personal advancement of people by letting them realize they are worth believing in.
What it doesn’t have to be: A parade of less-than-qualified or naïve characters (with the inevitable fraudster every so often) who tend to think getting things done is easier than the rest of the world makes it out to be.
Word of advice: Offering a launching pad for potentially groundbreaking ideas could be a philanthropic and a highly-profitable endeavor. But as the audience comes in as a backer of expected results and not as a customer of the final product, educating investors about risk should be a priority, as should project management for creators. Don’t be afraid to add sensible restrictions based on past experiences.
Spotify: Embed Moodle into your life
What it can be: A companionship for an ongoing and wonderful process of discovery and expansion of taste.
What it doesn’t have to be: A whole new level of using technology to irritate in increasingly sophisticated ways.
Word of advice: Recommending content is still an art more than a science. The mix of familiarity and novelty must be chosen with surgical precision. Then there’s persistence; some things do take repeated exposure before we warm up to them, but do it a little too much and we’ll get rid of you forever. Also, if feedback is an instrumental part of your business (and it should be), the interface must get out of the way when we’re trying to provide feedback. (The discussion about serving ads or sponsored content right inside educational products is better left for another day).
Blockchain: A universal, perennial, limitless sequence of human learning blocks
What it can be: A utopian-looking paradigm of decentralized transactions that somehow provide perfect transparency all at once.
What it doesn’t have to be: An extremely volatile system ultimately destined to reproduce the world’s vast inequalities, not to mention wasteful energy consumption patterns.
Word of advice: In a way, the world is only scratching the surface of what this intricate technology has to offer, of which Bitcoin is but one observation, and –as issues start to unravel– probably not very well implemented. Preliminary ideas about applications of the blockchain protocol in education that are not just another example of direct payments include automatic authentication of academic credentials. But the many layers and steep learning curve involved deserve pause from entrepreneurial minds looking to monetize “code is law” in its strict sense.
This Moodle Practice related post is made possible by: eThink Education, a Certified Moodle Partner that provides a fully-managed Moodle experience including implementation, integration, cloud-hosting, and management services. To learn more about eThink, click here.