The daunting-ness is primarily cost related.
I do think that on-line education will be in the longer term the way to go (for society a whole).
Quantifying knowledge/skill is of course the financial value of a "degree".
Stanford and MIT have most of their lectures on YouTube. I could buy/rent the books and follow along. Professors are needed only to help direct learning (evaluate papers/suggest reading) and verify understanding (evaluate papers/grade exams).
The price tag is in exchange for that.
University stamp of approval. Certified learned.