The Legacy Project
MOOCS, VOOCS, & M-Learning: A Pioneering Project?
For many of us, the concept of MOOCs is no longer a new one – it has become commonplace or at least you have heard of them, even if you haven’t enrolled in one yourself.
Ten years ago however, the situation could not have been more different. Online courses, if they did exist, were not open to the general public.
Instead, Universities and institutions made their study materials available exclusively to their own students and alumni. Most enrolees at tertiary institutions could only access readings and lecture notes from the courses they were registered to, and no others.
In 2003 this illiberal educational landscape was set to change with the birth of a pioneering initiative – Hello China.
THE PATH TO MOOCs
THE MOOC INSTITUTE STORY
When MOOCs first emerged at the beginning of the century (2000-2004), they offered an alternative to the conventional university and college courses. Online learning provided everyone with the opportunity to learn, with MOOCs having the added benefit of being free of charge. Hello China enabled the first free, online learning platforms that became known as MOOCs and had up to 4 million learners being the ambassadors for our story which helped to establish MOOCs in the market.
Hello China's work helped to pioneer vocational learning, encourage open-ness and wider access in education and teach young professionals in Asia. There were 32 offices in China that promoted the work that we were doing. This would eventually lead to a surge in business opportunities in the China as well as the growing demand for higher education.
The dissemination of the idea of MOOCs and online learning was done so by the means of our partner radio and telecoms companies, RNS announcements by EPE, journalism, as well as through the Hello English and EPE websites. It was by these means that the idea for MOOCs as an alternative to traditional education will have grown more influential and have reached a much wider audience. The 2003 Guardian article, was particularly influential in which it stated "the new generation of affluent, ambitious, mobile young people who have been whipped up into an English language learning frenzy by their hunger for knowledge about the outside world, as well as by an army of pushy parents and the increased testing of English competency for entry into state education and employment."
Asia has proven to be the most successful region for MOOCs and particularly amongst young professionals with 40% seeing the course through to the end. This is where we started and this is the group that we aimed at.
Please see relevant articles under the Press Articles button at the top of this page.
WHAT IS HELLO CHINA?
The company which was founded in 2000, launched its first two educational programs in 2003, called ‘Hello English!’
The majority of the Chinese population have always held schooling in very high regard. Education is a cornerstone to their culture for which, especially over the last decade, they have become renown. Home to the largest population of any country on earth, China’s vast society has always been eager to integrate with the rest of the world. They see education as a means by which they can transcend geographical divides and nowhere is this transcendence more effective than in their study of English.
The programs were particularly tailored to increase the exposure of colloquial English, for educated adults as well as less experienced young people. Radio broadcasts on the Chinese National radio started in 2002 and had in aim to improve Chinese English capabilities as well increase the future potential of Sino British business relations.
In 2003, the landscape for education of this style was very different to what it is today. Hello English's method was one of the first of its kind: targeting a mass audience from an open online source with modern interactive teaching techniques. Now the number of modern MOOCs is unrecognizable, with a large number of them backed by top tier universities.
Hello English programs also focused in creating actual employment opportunities. This made Hello English the first MOOC program with a vocational appetite. It was a pioneer in M-Learning, especially on this scale, given the significance of mobile users in China. From 2003 onwards, academics in China started to push in the direction of M-learning and praising its benefit as an educational tool. Currently china accounts for 26% of total mobile learning revenues in Asia.
The BBC World Program , and the BBC and British Council collaboration both offered distance and online education in China at the time both were however backed by U.K Government. Hello English was thus the first solely private company to run a MOOC style education in China. The reality is different now. Between 2013 and 2014, provision of MOOC's both private and backed by funding, increased 700% compared to the USA 9%.
With the success of MOOC, VOOC and the widespread of M-Learning today, Hello China is pleased to speak on its trajectory, its impact and the state of the industry. Click below to find out more.
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Find the full report below