Taking off like SpaceX?

Apollogies (sic) for stretching an analogy but imagine online programmes to be rockets and course modules to be satellites, then we see the role of CAPDM to be similar to that of SpaceX with the real-world education equivalents of Starlink or OneWeb being clients such as the University of London Worldwide and Edinburgh Business School at Heriot-Watt University. 

Why? Both were enabled by CAPDM to produce and launch global programmes of higher education but, crucially, with highly sustainable business models.

In our own small way, we liken what CAPDM does for education ‘launch services’ what SpaceX has done for space launch services – enabling global networks of ‘satellites’ (courses) to be launched quickly and cost-effectively, providing access to your knowledge and learning worldwide. 

Yes, I know this sounds like another specious analogy, but there are actually a lot of similarities between what CAPDM and SpaceX do: 

  • SpaceX rockets are reusable and cost effective.  So are CAPDM’s single-mastered programmes and open standards-based course assets.
  • Progress in rocketry is incremental, as happens in online education. We know, we’ve been doing it for 25+ years.
  • SpaceX rockets are modular, as are online distance learning programmes produced the CAPDM way.
  • SpaceX streamlines production in the same way that building different car bodies atop similar chassis helps keep costs down for car manufacturers. CAPDM does exactly that for online educators but without restricting designs or pedagogic ambitions.  Quite the opposite, in fact
  • 80% of the parts in any SpaceX rocket are made on the company’s own factory floor, reducing the cost of outsourcing. CAPDM enables universities to complete in-house production too – retaining all programme revenues and assets.
  • Governments are starting to support private commercial space companies to help drive innovation.  We are beginning to see such transformations in online higher education too.
  • SpaceX provides a route to realising ambitious visions, such as returning to the Moon or putting humans on Mars. CAPDM provides a route to realising online education visions, such as delivering a high quality, affordable education to the Earth.

Is a SpaceX analogy taking things a bit too far? Then how about a Tesla analogy?

Tesla is where we all could be – producing large numbers of high quality, flexible e-courses by the thousands to help ‘save the world’ with affordable, sustainable education for all.  In our own small way, CAPDM has been doing for course design and production what Tesla has done for cars.  If you prefer this analogy then re-read most of the points above substituting cars for courses and self-driving with self-learning.

Coming down to earth for a moment, can higher education learn from SpaceX?  We think ‘yes’.

If HE is to learn one thing then that has to be reusability.  You need reusability to make producing and maintaining high-quality global online programmes scalable, repeatable and sustainable. Hence I chose a graphic with two SpaceX boosters landing for refurbishment, rather than the typical rocket blasting off representing success.

What can a university learn from Tesla?

To meet the challenges of a new era, universities should redesign their core functions while also creating the capabilities and capacities to be able to reach emerging and underserved markets. This is what CAPDM enables.

Elon Musk believes the current education system could be vastly improved. Whether you like him or not, we believe he has shown us the way to do just that.

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