Corporations Create Online Institutes to Educate External Audiences

Corporations and nonprofit organizations are creating their own online institutes to train external audiences. This is a new trend in professional education that goes beyond the legacy corporate universities. A clear example is the NVIDIA Deep Learning Institute (DLI).

This Silicon Valley unicorn has created, in partnership with New York-based consultant IBL Education, a sophisticated learning mechanism for developers and data scientists. Technically, it is a distributed and built-to-scale Open edX ecosystem. NVIDIA Deep Learning Institute (DLI) follows a smart monetization model. Their courses — which vary from fundamentals to advanced industry-specific courses — are profitable as NVIDIA sells access to individual courses for $90, complete with a course certificate.

A second straightforward option of monetizing online institutes is the subscription model, or selling subscriptions to course platforms to students or corporations. Like the popular music streaming services Spotify, students pay a  monthly fee and gain access to an entire course catalog, or a large portion of it. Another example for the subscription model is the company Pluralsight, a technology learning platform that offers subscriptions for businesses ($499-$699 per user, per year) individuals ($299 per year), academia and government institutions.

A third option of these sales enablement platforms is to sell licenses of courses to resellers. Larger training companies and universities will pay other companies with online institutes to access their courses and host them on their own platforms. For example, Global Knowledge, the largest IT training company in the world, often sells access to courses built by other companies strictly because licensing those courses is more profitable. It is also built as an Open edX learning ecosystem.