Binge learning

Breaking open business models in very productive ways

If you read this blog more or less regularly, you're probably aware of my tendency to wander off in search of examples from other disciplines whose trends might have an impact on publishing. There's no certainty in applying examples across industries, but it can be instructive, in a "what-if" manner.

I'm hardly on my own in looking for parallels in other areas. Writing for the Associations Now blog, Samantha Whitehorne asked, "Will binge learning become the new binge watching?" There, Whitehorne recounts her experience catching up on favorite shows, then wonders how that might shift the consumption of educational content.

While she writes with an association audience in mind, Whitehorne's question is a good one for publishers to ask. The question can also be invoked in reverse: as some have argued, the significant drop-out rate seen for many massively open online courses (MOOCs) may reflect an interest in gaining experience in just part of a classically structured educational offering.

The point here isn't to predict that education publishing will tilt toward binge consumption or student-driven cherry-picking. Those are just scenarios. Consistent with a post I wrote that appeared on Futurebook, though, the scenarios help promote a conversation around "what if that happened?" Answering that question can break open business models in very productive ways.