Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are raising worldwide concerns now. The educational characteristic of MOOCs makes it different from the traditional information goods, and its pricing strategy therefore deserves high attention. By observing that major MOOC platforms started to move from the certificate business model to the subscription one, we focus on the business model selection problem faced by MOOC platforms. In this paper, we construct a game theoretical model with a MOOCs platform, an educational institution, and a group of learners. We study the profitability of three models: the certificate model, the subscription model, and the mixed model. We find that learners’ bounded rationality is a key for MOOC platforms to introduce the subscription option to learners. Interestingly, while having some learners overestimating their ability benefits the institution and platform, it does not matter whether learners underestimate themselves or not.
Kung, Ling-Chieh and Yang, Pei-Jung, "Certificate or Subscription? The Optimal Pricing Strategy of Massive Online Open Courses" (2018). PACIS 2018 Proceedings. 301.