Online learning’s ‘fantasy world’

Campus Review, 20 September 2000

ONLINE learning in vocational education in Australia had been largely driven by technology, rather than the market or the needs of the students, consultant and analyst John Mitchell told the conference.

“Basically, you have to build your business backwards from the student,” he said. There needed to be much more focus on generic business practices such as design, production, marketing, distribution and sales and service, he said.

As an example of the lack of a business-like approach, he cited research carried out by his company in which 350 organisations were asked which markets they were most interested in for their online learning. Almost all of them had said “Asia”.

Yet almost all of them said they had not been there or knew nothing about it.

“The reality is that there is a lack of business thinking underlying most of these models, and tens of millions of dollars have been spent.

“Most online learning systems are like many of the new dot-com companies: losing money and hoping to pay dividends later.

“What we have at the moment is a fantasy world.”