How the Jobs to be Done Theory Applies to Online Education

Tanya Roscorla, ConVerge, Nov 29, 2016
Commentary by Stephen Downes

This article states, "According to the jobs-to-be-done theory, customers hire products or services to do a specific job for them, and those providers can adapt their offerings by understanding the job they've been hired to do." OK, fair enough. So what is the job students expect MOOCs to do? It depends on the student. "Students straight out of high school want the coming-of-age experience that goes with attending a campus in person," and online learning doesn't really help with this. Adult learners, by contrast, want "a more flexible way to earn a degree that may help them get a better job." This may all seem pretty obvious, but universities still get it wrong. That said, keep your eye on the 'job to be done'. It's a moving target, a strange attractor.

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