Outlier

by Danielle Green

Outlier is a platform founded by Aaron Rasmussen, one of the original cofounders of MasterClass, whose goal is to provide the world’s best online education. The platform delivers “high-quality, university-level courses taught online by some of the most celebrated educators in their respective fields” (as per the mission statement on the website). The platform launched at the end of 2019, and with the completion of each course, students are granted college credits from the University of Pittsburgh. The production quality appears to be expensive and high-value, which I think makes it a bit more engaging than some of the online education industry peers on YouTube. At the moment, the only two courses available are “Introduction to Psychology” and “Introduction to Calculus.” The platform attempts to bridge the gap between education and entertainment. I also think it’s interesting how the platform takes scholarly experts from institutions like Yale, NYU, Columbia, and MIT and utilizes video content to share their knowledge and pedagogical techniques with the world. Unlike MasterClass, the focus is not on celebrities but on top scholars and instructors in their field, which is a bit of a different playing field. This also takes advantage of Cialdini’s key behavioral design principle of authority to bring students onto the platform to enroll in courses. This is also among the things that I find most powerful about the internet: the ability to disseminate information and deliver a quality education regardless of location, urbanity or rurality.

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