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Emerging online educational models and the transformation of traditional universities


The information and communications technology (ICT) led revolution in the last two decades has transformed a large number of traditional businesses. The impact has been more significant in industries dominated by information goods such as music, software, and newspapers. Higher education sector is information-centric and its digitization is inevitable. The new generation of the Internet-based educational business models have emerged and they have already started evolving to make electronic learning (eLeraning) as effective and efficient as electronic commerce (eCommerce) has become in retailing. Drawing on information goods theory in economics, online retailers and marketplaces literature in information systems, and contemporary research on eLearning, this paper classifies and analyses the emerging educational business models into online education marketplaces (OEM), online education providers (OEP), and online education services (OES) and also provides a roadmap for the transformation of traditional universities.

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Correspondence to Bhavik K. Pathak.

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Responsible Editor: Ricardo Colomo-Palacios

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Pathak, B.K. Emerging online educational models and the transformation of traditional universities. Electron Markets 26, 315–321 (2016).

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  • Online educational models
  • Information goods
  • eLearning
  • eCommerce
  • Future of higher education

JEL Classification

  • L86
  • 123