…If Disruption Occurs- Learning Platform – There is typically room for only a handful of platform providers based on recent technology markets. Think Apple / App Store and Google / Android in the smart phone markets, with other platforms rapidly disappearing. Think Facebook and LinkedIn and Google+ with social platforms. My guess is that the ed tech market is only big enough to support two “platforms”, or maybe three long-term. Keep in mind that we’re talking about free platforms that are monetized elsewhere (content stores, premium support, increased adoption of content). There are not many companies that have the scale or the additional revenue potential to justify the investment of millions of dollars to support and update a free learning platform.
– Traditional LMS – There will remain a market for traditional LMS offerings, but this market will likely specialize and focus on online programs, government / military schools, and schools with specialized needs that cannot be met by a free platform model. I suspect that open source LMS solutions will focus once again on schools that truly want free as in freedom, as described in Chuck Severance’s book, at the expense of schools who have gone open source purely for financial reasons. The traditional LMS would be far less dominant in ed tech than it is today.
– Ed Tech Competition – What will happen, at least in my opinion, is that the nature of a free platform will move the ed tech competition into learning applications, content tools and disaggregation of content (think Inkling). Yes, there already are existing and new offerings here, but I think we would end up with more competition and greater ability for these applications to scale. We could even see existing LMS providers disaggregating some of their tools and competing in the space, in conjunction with the free learning platforms.
– Content Providers – Publishers as well as OER and self-publishing providers will need to be more clear on the value they provide, as the platform will give greater access to learning content from multiple sources. OER already has a compelling value proposition – open and free (there are those words again). Publishers will need to provide more value-added tools and services, such as Cengage MindTap, and not rely as heavily on their distribution channels.