Online education will be a disruptive destroyer of educational bureaucrats. But it will be a boon to great teachers.
Let's examine why by studying recent history.
Do you remember how fast blogs went from total obscurity to outlandish omnipresence? I started this blog in 2002, so I remember.
A lot has happened in the past 15 years. Today there are thousands of well-known blogs and bloggers.
Most are super-niche. Many are thriving.
Yes, many are pitiful. That's to be expected.
Bad writing? Yep, lots of it.
Disjointed thinking? Of course.
But you know what else happened in the past 15 years?
A bunch of thoughtful folks created successful blogs. They spent a few years building a loyal audience with compelling writing.
Eventually, they figured out how to monetize: writing books or getting speaking gigs.
Meet the New "Educators"
So, how does blogging apply to online education?
Well, some of those money-making-bloggers have turned their attention to online education. And guess what's happening?
They're starting to make even more money. And you know what will happen next, right?
Other people are going to notice and start doing the same thing. Of course, it won't be exactly like the blog revolution of 2002 – 2015.
Teaching people is tricky. It's sort of like writing, but harder.
The opportunity is there and people with the right skills will find that opportunity quickly. Great teachers will see the opportunity to help more folks, and make more money at the same time.
Even teachers who never created a blog.
It's already happening. And there is data to prove it. For example, the worldwide market for e-learning was $35 billion in 2011. The market this year is expected to be $51 billion.
Online education is growing at a phenomenal rate. Almost double in 5 years.
Makes sense, right? More people are coming online worldwide. Internet speeds are increasing. Mobile internet is blowing through the roof.
So how will this powerful trend play out?
Back to history class.
Remember how blogs and online publication created major challenges for newspapers? Well, online education will pose similar problems for traditional education.
The pattern will be almost the same for traditional education as it was for newspapers and traditional publishers ten years ago.
First, they'll ignore the opportunity.
After entrepreneurial teachers capture huge swaths of the new market the educational bureaucracies will see declines in revenue.
There will be layoffs followed by hand-wringing. The bureaucrats will claim they couldn't foresee the upheaval.
Here's an important lesson those leaders should try to learn: Living in the mainstream dulls the senses.
People in the mainstream always have trouble seeing the radical shifts taking place in the distance.
But out on the edge, the view is different.
Online education is a powerful trend.
The highest growth rate is in Asia (17.3%), followed by Eastern Europe (16.9%), Africa (15.2%) and Latin America (14.6%).
If you're a great teacher or aspire to be one, now's your time.
You don't need permission to help people (and make good money doing so).
You just need a platform.
If you want a simple, easy-to-use platform I suggest you try Thinkific. It has all the components you need to publish and sell an online course.
Of course, you also need to find an audience.
That involves marketing, which most people suck at. Teachers especially.
Read Michael Hyatt's book Platform if you want to know how to attract an online audience in a powerful and tasteful way.
One word of caution, though.
Don't listen to the doubting voice in your head. Don't listen to naysayers and ignorant pontificators.
Most of all don't listen to educational bureaucrats.
Now's your time.
There's an audience out there trying to find you, and they're ready to learn.
They're waiting for you.
What are you waiting for?