About the Project

This project is one of the 2019 WISE Awards finalists. 

OpenClassrooms is the leading online education and employment platform in the world, with a mission to make quality education and career advancement accessible and affordable to all. It is an alternative to traditional higher education that offers students the chance to earn associate’s and bachelor’s-level diplomas and masters’ at their own pace.

Context and Issue 

It all started in 1999 in the south of France when Mathieu Nebra, at only 13 years old, wanted to learn to code. He couldn’t find a book or online source that taught coding simply and clearly for beginners. In response, he launched his own course online on a blog he called Site du Zero (or “Learn from Scratch”). Soon after, Mathieu met Pierre Dubuc. They teamed up to grow the site’s community and develop its content. Quickly Site du Zero became a reference point for the French-speaking web.

In 2013, Pierre and Mathieu launched OpenClassrooms, an online platform offering free courses on a multitude of subjects. Today we offer Career Paths from which students can earn French state-endorsed, bachelor’s- and master’s-level diplomas.

Solution and Impact

The origins of OpenClassrooms go back to 1999, when Mathieu Nebra, helped by Pierre Dubuc, launched a community site for tutorials called Le site du Zéro. Their aim was to help young people to learn programming languages. In 2007, the site became a company, which offers online courses, MOOCs, and learning paths on freemium basis. The courses are created either in house by a team of teachers, instructional designers, videographers, and technicians, or in partnership with universities, such as École polytechnique, and companies, such as IBM. In 2015, OpenClassrooms launched an entirely MOOC-based BA degree in multimedia project management, recognised by French state, and integrated one-to-one online mentoring into its educational offer.
Starting in 2016, it offers only learning paths focusing on the jobs of the digital economy — such as web developer, community manager, and digital marketer — to help fill the digital skills gap, and to help learners gain employable skills and achieve professional success.

Right now, 3 millions of people are studying with OpenClassrooms across 140 countries. The curriculum is designed to teach the skills and competencies needed for the most in-demand jobs in the market today. That includes programs in areas such as web development, data analysis, design, but also HR, management, finance and entrepreneurship. All individual classes can be accessed for free.

The diploma programs are conducted fully online through a mix of videos, online reading, and projects a student would realistically face in a future role. Students that sign up for a diploma program are paired with experienced professionals in their field that serve as a dedicated mentor. These mentors not only help with their coursework, but with their job search. OpenClassrooms is so confident in its model that it will refund a student’s tuition if they don’t find a job within six months of graduation.

Future Developments

By 2025, OpenClassrooms aims at placing 1 million students every year in the workforce.

May 23, 2019 (last update 12-30-2020)