December 6, 2023

Diving Overview:

  • Coursera is doubling down on offering both degree programs and entry-level certificates on its platform, though the latter offerings are the only two that saw revenue growth last quarter, according to the company’s latest earnings.
  • The revenue of the MOOC platform will reach $523.8 million in 2022, up 26% from the previous year. This growth was driven in part by increased demand for micro-credentials in the fourth quarter, particularly the company’s entry-level professional certificates.
  • However, the company’s revenue fell sharply in the fourth quarter, falling 11% year-over-year to $11.9 million. Management told analysts on call on Thursday that they expect the segment to start growing again in the second half of this year.

Diving Statistics:

Coursera has been rapidly expanding its offerings since going public in early 2021. This year, the company made progress in meeting these goals and, according to company officials, increased its basic professional certificates from 18 a year ago to 38 today.

“We believe industry microcredentials will be a critical part of the transformation of higher education,” said Coursera CEO Jeff Maggioncalda. “They offer students without a university degree or previous work experience an affordable and flexible way to start or transition into a digital career.”

Coursera isn’t the only public company to find success with short-term credentials. 2U — the ed tech firm that recently acquired edX, one of Coursera’s main competitors — also saw strong revenue growth in this segment, especially from the bootcamp menu.

However, Coursera’s business is in decline. Ken Hahn, Coursera’s chief financial officer, attributed the declines to declining enrollment in US graduate programs, where the company’s degree revenue is concentrated.

This past fall, graduate enrollment down 1.2% compared to the previous year, according to the latest data from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center.

Still, Coursera is quick to launch degree programs, announcing 14 new offerings in the past year.

This includes liberal arts studies at Georgetown University, a private non-profit in Washington, DC. The degree program is aimed at adults who have left college before completing their studies.

Maggioncalda said those types of offerings — those aimed at working adults — will become more of a focus for the company. As well as short-term credentials that are included in study programs.

“We found that there are certain kinds of degrees that seem to have pretty good appeal to the kinds of working adults who are thinking about changing careers, not unlike people who are taking these career certificates,” Maggioncalda said.

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