Today, Alison (Advance Learning Interactive Systems Online) boasts two million users worldwide across all continents. The premise is simple: the site, www.alison.com, provides users with online courses in basic, useful, subject areas, through a variety of media, such as video, text, audio, etc.
The courses initially focused on English language learning and IT, two of the biggest areas of online learning, in order to increase traffic. “We needed a lot of people on this platform to make it,” explains Mike.
Today, over 500 free courses have been published, and over 60 million free lessons have been delivered. It’s clearly a successful business model, but Mike insists that this is a secondary motivation for him.
“This is already a very valuable company and it will get more valuable, but I’m not interested in that, I’m interested in having a social impact,” he says, pointing out that for many people, highly specialised online degree courses are “useless”.
“What these people need to know is how to speak English, how to speak their own language better…and how to use IT.”