We receive so much valuable content from our customers, partners and internal subject-matter experts. On Thursdays, we thought it would be fun to do a “throw back” and bring back an older post that was valuable to our audience. Today’s throw back addresses the debate on free content.
By John Ambrose
Since the dawn of the web, “free” has been a seductive concept. Chris Anderson, editor-in-chief of Wired magazine has made a career touting the “free” model. Yet, Wired magazine is not free, nor are Chris’ speaking fees.
The latest “free” craze is university curricula as well-known universities declare their intentions to post some or all of their courses on the web. How will this affect corporate learning departments?
“Free” is not new. In fact, MIT had been making its courses available online for nearly a decade now. While free university content will appeal to some individuals, it is no substitute for the highly sophisticated and organizationally aligned learning & development models that have evolved over the past decade.
Think about the extreme for a moment. What if every university put every course online for free. Users would then have everything they need at their fingertips, why bother with corporate training of any kind, right?
First, this sounds like the same argument when web search engines like Google first appeared. That simply having access to content − is somehow equivalent to doing something useful with it.
Second, there would be massive redundancy. Most university curricula are differentiated by instructor and approach, not topic or objectives. Users would face a dizzying array of options (not unlike how we feel with a typical Google search) and corporate trainers would face a daunting task of alignment.