Much time and attention has been given to the MOOCs started in the US, but as I have mentioned in my interview with Mike Feerick of ALISON, the phenomenon actually first emerged in Europe, Forbes reports.

Another more recent entry to the MOOC field out of the United Kingdom is FutureLearn. Unlike other prominent MOOCs like Udacity, Coursera, and edX that feature university content, FutureLearn is not led by a former academic. Simon Nelson is a businessman, but he was a logical choice to head FutureLearn given his experience working in a variety of media fields that have been threatened and transformed by technology.

As a result, Nelson has been programmed to see opportunity in the chaos.

FutureLearn also has the advantage of a 44 year old pre-cursor to the MOOCs: Open University. The university has many things in common with the MOOCs — it has an open entry policy, and the majority of courses are taken off-campus anywhere in the world.

As such, Nelson has been able to work with Open University Vice Chancellor Martin Bean to learn from the decades of experiences and experiments forged, and many of them have translated well to the new format. Therefore, while FutureLearn is a new entrant to this marketplace, it stands to become a formidable one.

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