Massive open online courses or Moocs have proven to be a disruptive force in higher education in the United States, but not because they have revolutionised academia, the Financial Times reports. Rather, their groundbreaking influence comes from the distraction they pose to real reform. Moocs are not the wave of the future, nor are they transformational, as promised. They are a temporary diversion in the evolution of online learning that I believe will soon be replaced by a far more revolutionary force – the marriage of big data with online platforms to create a customised learning experience. Quite simply, customised or adaptive learning, not Moocs, is the future of higher education in the US and globally. Not everyone is convinced, especially those who have invested heavily in the Mooc movement.

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