Online Education

The Uberization of Education: How Far?

“Uberization” is a neologism coined less than 10 years ago that refers to “the questioning of the economic model of a company or industry by the arrival of a new player offering the same services. at lower prices, carried out by self-employed persons, not employees, most often through online booking platforms” (Petit Larousse). Transportation of people by car with a driver, rental of tourism, food delivery, healthcare are experiencing their uberization. Training too.

University at your fingertips, including degrees and jobs

Traditional actors of training, universities, schools, specialized centers, have had to face new applicants for ten years. These offer on-demand training services, often all online, cheaper than the equivalent in a traditional facility and sometimes provided by reputable teachers.

The first MOOC platforms experienced the success we know thanks to this model taken to the extreme: attend courses from the best universities in the world for free! This enticing offer apparently did not include a degree. So what to buy in training, if not a diploma, a certificate for quality work, professional promotion, a network offering guarantees against the vagaries of life?

New vocational training operators have quickly recognized the value of a diploma and are now offering diploma courses offering facilities previously unknown to registrants:

  • the possibility of setting up courses according to your own ideas and priorities,
  • the possibility to interrupt or speed up their progress,
  • The possibility of obtaining a certification or a professional title in a few months and not in two or three years…

In addition, these new training operators are unparalleled in identifying workforce needs and offering ad hoc training, often with guaranteed employment.

One step further: all coaches

In the same way that a famous chauffeur service company has multiplied the number of drivers in many cities around the world, some form of Uberized training promises to be a trainer for us all.

We would be at the dawn of “collaborative and decisive training” among peers. After all, we all have something to learn. All it takes is for supply to meet demand, preferably through a digital platform, for the training to take place. The only criterion for success is then the satisfaction of the learner.

Some large companies have taken up the challenge of training anyone and everyone. For example, in an effort to fill the generational gap between employees or limit the evaporation of precious knowledge that accompanies older employees at the time of retirement.

What results?

Undoubtedly, many people are attracted to the ease of organization and choice at a reduced cost offered by platforms to link training offers and applications. If during the subsequent incarcerations caused by the health crisis, many experienced distance learning as an obstacle, many today consider a distance course rather than in-person study.

But what works well for a time-limited training track comes at a high price when it comes to committing to months. Costs are often considered too high even when training appears to be only one option. Time is running out for everyone.

Because yes, the cost of training, and we’re not just talking about the financial aspect here. If we look at the advice given online to prospective online students, we see that they are being asked to make significant changes in their daily lives and mobilize strong cognitive functions for long periods of time.

At the other end of the chain, on the instructional designer side, tips and tricks to facilitate student engagement abound (such as here , there , or there , among many other suggestions). Training is not easier than training.

Service value

Education is an economic sector that has been structured over time and is experiencing welcome revolutions. But in this sector, as in most of those affected by the Uberization phenomenon, individuals are paying a high price. On the side of the “aware”, first: employees hardly find time to create training for their colleagues; yesterday’s trainers must now improvise as designers and facilitators of their training.

On the side of the “learners”, then: choose the content and avoid the pitfalls of marketing, build modules, organize yourself at home and not in the middle of a supportive community, take responsibility for possible failure…

Let’s not forget: training is still essentially a service. To render a service is to relieve someone of a difficult or inappropriate task. It’s lightening up a busy day, mobilizing a skill to solve a problem. So yes, we are probably “all trainers”, in absolute terms. We are certainly able to organize ourselves to learn on our own, but we cannot deprive ourselves of the pleasure of providing service and the benefit of the service provided.

Artwork: DepositPhotos – Kentoh


“Uberization and digitization of the world lead to the demise of the salary world”. Eugénie Boilait, Le Figaro, 15/07/2022.

“How to uberize training?” Author: Stéphane Diebold. Focus HR, 06.01.2020.

“Uberization and trends in vocational education, Denis Jacquet”. Currently, 21.12.2020.

“Is the Global Uberization of Higher Education Ethical?” Simone de Colle, Conversation, 26.01.2022.

“How Safran achieved 136,000 hours of digital training in just 1 year.” Sophie Torre, 360 Learning.

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