Feasibility report for an Arabic e-learning Platform (MOOC).
Creating uniqueness and setting high standards to gain trust.
The investor was a highly reputed doctor who owned a chain of hospitals in KSA. She had no experience whatsoever in education or online commerce.
In addition, she was sceptic whether an Arabic massive open online course platform would find traction in the Arab World.
Science aversion was a serious shortcoming vis-à-vis economic and societal development in the Arab World. Hence the need to provide high-quality Arabic contents in interesting and motivational ways (with/without instructor-led online learning).
Technological advances had increased demand for skilled workers, and many rapidly expanding industries were experiencing serious shortages of trained labor.
Providers like Coursera did not offer localized content to suit the needs of specific populations. Most MOOCs in the Arab World were offered in English. As a result, only a few group of people who master the English language were able to benefit from existing MOOCs.
Arabic platforms offered courses in Arabic but each targeted a different niche (K-12 or secondary-level education).
The vast majority of MOOCs were struggling to be profitable or had already closed down; edX itself was losing money after at least five years in business.
The investor invested USD 8.5 Million from her own funds.
The new platform turned a profit after 3 years. After that time, the students’ completion rate reached 11% (similar to the completion rates in the West and 5 to 6 times bigger than the average in the Arab World).
The MOOC gained peer recognition and respect because it had a clear pedagogical purpose, highly qualified academic experts, and a dedicated management team.
The platform was launched professionally right from the start because education is costly, and reputation is built on trust.
The platform provided degrees, micro-specializations and certifications that became recognized by employers and some educational institutions.
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