All entries for Monday 20 March 2006

March 20, 2006

Another e–learning wash–out

Writing about web page http://education.guardian.co.uk/elearning/story/0,,1735137,00.html

Report in today's Guardian on another woeful e-learning venture gone pear-shaped:

An e-learning venture by Oxford University, with Yale and Stanford in the US, has folded after failing to attract enough students. A joint announcement was slipped out quietly by the three universities, which face an embarrassing blow to their prestige. The failure follows the collapse of a series of American university ventures and the £62m debacle of the UK's e-University. Oxford today declined to disclose how much money it lost on the AllLearn project, launched in the heady days of the dotcom boom in 2001. By June 2005, AllLearn had incurred a deficit of $783,410, with a revenue of $2.5m and expenses totalling $3.28m, according to the London-based Observatory on Borderless Higher Education, which monitors international developments in distance learning. In a statement on the AllLearn website, S Kristin Kim, president of the company, said it had offered 110 online courses from Oxford, Stanford, and Yale universities to more than 10,000 participants from 70 countries during the past five years. "As we looked to the future, the cost of offering top-quality enrichment courses at affordable prices was not sustainable over time."

"Affordable prices" certainly captures it. It looks like the average cost was $250 per participant.

Sounds like a bit of a weakness in the business plan. But how could these three institutions get it quite so wrong?


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