Somehow I completely missed this paper by Clayton Christensen, Sally Aaron, and William Clark from the EDUCAUSE 2001 Forum for the Future of Higher Education called, appropriately enough, “Disruption in Education.” Here is the abstract:
Clayton Christensen, Sally Aaron and William Clark, focus on the effects of disruptive technology that change competition in their field. Christensen’s theory, developed in the corporate realm, is based on the constant pursuit of excellence by both businesses and higher education institutions. As the quality of products increases, they often surpass the needs of their consumers, leaving a gap to be filled by a disruptive innovation (a product or service of lower quality or performance that more closely matches consumers’ needs). Other features make the innovation appealing as well, such as being cheaper, simpler, and more convenient to use. Early adopters of the disruptive technology or service most often are the least demanding customers in a market.
I’ve only skimmed it, but there is reference to the University of Pheonix so if you know anything about Christensen’s theory of disruptive innovations you can probably guess where this is going…(This post was updated on 23-Mar-2006.)