Bill Gates on MOOCs: They need to help people get jobs

In a Businessweek interview with Brad Stone:

What have you learned so far about MOOCs, or massive open online courses? Are they a superior alternative to traditional classrooms, or is this the best available solution for students who can’t attend a traditional university?
If you look at who’s used MOOCs so far, it’s an elite phenomenon. The completion rates are very low, and the effect on employability is very low. Yes, it’s promising and exciting. But this notion that “just don’t go to school, just connect to a MOOC,” that’s like telling somebody to read the textbook. You’d have to couple that with student support, study groups, lab activity, and the credential. And until you complete that equation, MOOCs have not changed higher ed.
I agree. That's why we're seeing a lot more success with physical schools paired with new learning tech, e.g. Hacker School, General Assembly, and Insight Data Science Fellows

In the words of Hillary Clinton: It takes a village. 

4 responses
Dev Bootcamp has been doing well in this regard ( Last year they graduated 88% of their class to get entry-level Rails positions, and that number has since increased to 90%. It's something we thought about a lot at Bloc, which is an online apprenticeship. If you can consistently teach people online and line them up with a job, it becomes a very viable alternative to college.
I was reading Nelson's interview this morning. It's a far longer shot, but where the MOOCs are failing - creating disengagement and increased rigidity rather than flexibility and inspiration - Minerva might succeed.
Couldn't agree more. This is exactly what we're working on with Kepler ( and and its independent for-profit sister organization Spire ( and
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