If you want an example of disruptive innovation, here it is.
Google Helpouts will connect you with an approved expert who specifically addresses your problem via video chat. Each helper has a fixed or per-minute rate that you pay via Google Wallet, of which Google gets a 20 percent cut, and users will be able to rate and review helpers.
Prices vary widely, but some that are already posted include a 30-minute Rosetta Stone Spanish tutorial for $30, one-on-one stylist tips for 50¢ per minute, and WordPress help for $2 per minute. Each helper will have a set availability, and users can either get in line for a Helpout during open hours or schedule one later.
Google says the service is HIPAA-compliant, so health care professionals including therapists or psychiatrists can provide their services over Helpouts.
There are three reasons why this sort of thing is potentially so disruptive to higher education.
- This is targeting lifelong learners.
- Universities don’t care about this market.
- This is just a side effect for Google. They didn’t really have to do a lot of extra work since they already had Hangouts and such with Google+. Beware companies who can go after your customers as a side effect. They can undercut you easily.
Of course, there is nothing to stop Universities from offering similar services but their overhead would probably outweigh the benefits they can get from it. It also eats the market for other similar services like Pop Expert.
This is going to be great though for people who want to make a little extra money and want to try their hand at teaching. It disaggregates the learning experience down to just a willing student and a teacher, which is the only thing you need for learning to happen.