In his recent talk at SXSW in Austin, Texas, Mike Feerick, CEO of ALISON, the free online learning platform with almost 7 million learners globally, challenged world governments to unleash online learning to address global inequality.
Press Release, Galway, Ireland, 5th April 2016:
“We have been stopping people from educating themselves, and stopping those who can teach from having a wider impact,” said Feerick to a large audience at SXSW. Global inequality and the skills gap is one of the biggest challenges facing governments, says the ALISON founder, and free online education is one of the most powerful modern tools that we have to address it. However, he concluded: “Governments and advisors are looking in the wrong places for answers and asking the wrong people for solutions.”
The ALISON founder recommended three policies that governments could implement to radically propel online learning for all societies.
Firstly, governments could mandate that free online informal learning becomes an integral part of any hiring decisions across public and semi-state recruitment… It would comprehensively deliver the message that free online lifelong learning is important, relevant and valued.
Secondly, through economic or tax incentives, [Governments could] encourage private industry, from large corporations to small businesses, to follow suit and integrate free online learning into their hiring and employment practices across their organizations.
Thirdly, Governments should encourage businesses to create basic level online courses for training purposes that will make industry less reliant on others, including government, for its workforce training needs, and allow individuals to become more competitive, enabling them to make better choices in what they work at, and where they work.
Feerick concluded: “Our universities and colleges, almost without exception, provide education and training that is too expensive. ALISON’s mission is to drive all of the costs of education and skills training to zero.”
ALISON is one of the world’s largest free online learning platforms with 6 million learners and 750,000 graduates of its courses worldwide. Pioneering the MOOC (Massive Open Online Courseware) movement, ALISON provides 750 free courses at Diploma and Certificate level. It was founded by Mike Feerick in 2007 as a for-profit social enterprise. For more on ALISON, visit www.alison.com.