View: A MOOC Platform Catalog is No-Marketing. Leveraging Institutional Networks Is Key

Mikel Amigot | IBL News

An effective marketing plan will drive enrollment, engage with learners and increase word of mouth awareness.

We start defining our target audience: who are the type of students who would be interested, what is the course about, and why should learners enroll in the course –what new skills and knowledge will they gain, and how will they benefit and help advance their career. In addition, we need to determine what is the key differentiator of the course: is it the institution, the instructor, the topic?

We all agree on this approach. We also agree that promoting the course description page (or About page) will require an SEO, Twitter / Facebook / LinkedIn social campaign and maybe some paid Adwords.

But this isn’t enough. A well-crafted plan needs to activate the college’s existing institutional web properties, faculty networks, PR department media capabilities, blog spaces, newsletters, and landing pages. The outreach of the organization, either is a university or a large company, is simply impressive.

A client of ours forgot or was unable to activate, this little detail, and the enrollment fell short. This department thought that the failure was due to the lack of presence on a catalog of a big MOOC platform like Coursera o edX.

Institutions tend to believe before joining a consortium that a MOOC platform is a magic bullet for marketing. When they launch their first course or program, they discover that enrollments are surprisingly low. What happens? Well, first, they put too much faith on those platform advertising pitches, and, second, they don’t activate their institutional networks.

Truth be told, Coursera and edX do advise about the importance of undertaking an integrated marketing approach between the institution and MOOC platform, with the university’s web assets as the most important. In the end, Google is always your best ally. A centralized catalog has a limited impact.