OpenLearning partners with UNSW to deliver next generation of online higher education

OpenLearning ASX OLL New South Wales Global UNSW Global university
OpenLearning has raised $6 million to help set up and deliver University of New South Wales Global’s online transition program in 2021.

Higher education software-as-a-service (SaaS) company OpenLearning (ASX: OLL) emerged from a trading halt this morning with news of a $6 million capital raise and intentions to execute what the company termed as “key immediate opportunities” over the coming months.

Furthermore, the company announced a five-year agreement with the University of New South Wales Global (UNSW Global) to design and deliver an online pathway program for international students through its OpenLearning platform.

OpenLearning first partnered with UNSW Global in May 2020 to launch the online University English entry course with the company declaring the first batch of students had high satisfaction and attendance rates for the interactive 10-week course.

The $6 million of newly raised funds will be used to set up and commence delivery of the UNSW Global online transition program, a product feature that is expected to deliver a significant new revenue stream.

The new four-month UNSW transition program is set to go live in March next year and is designed to provide the same outcomes for international students as UNSW Global’s existing offline transition program, which will continue to be delivered on campus.

The online program will be delivered via OpenLearning’s proprietary platform to international students, seeking to study at UNSW, considered to be one of the world’s top 50 universities.

Progressive learning

According to OpenLearning, its online teaching model is entirely “activity-based” and personalised, including coaching and interviews instead of exams.

The company also expects its agreement with UNSW to provide students with additional feedback from teachers and peer interaction than other online programs “with a progressive shift from teacher-led sessions to student-led ones that give students accountability with support”.

Also, an automatically generated online portfolio will allow teachers to monitor students’ progress throughout the program, making it possible to tailor coaching and support to each student.

In a statement to the market, OpenLearning described today’s agreement as “transformative”, both in terms of the additional revenue stream it provides and the nature of the work the company will undertake.

The terms of the deal indicate OpenLearning will receive between $6,000 and $9,000 in revenue for each student in the program, inclusive of fees paid to UNSW Global and based on the estimated enrolment fee per student.

Under the agreement, UNSW Global is tasked with marketing and providing curriculum, content, quality assurance and certification, while OpenLearning supports UNSW Global’s activities in addition to carrying out its own marketing initiatives through the OpenLearning platform in order to maximise student numbers.

“We’re excited to partner with UNSW Global to set a new standard for online education by reimagining the UNSW transition program,” OpenLearning chief executive officer and managing director Adam Brimo said.

“For the first time, we’re combining OpenLearning’s socially constructive and community-driven approach with a teaching model that integrates small group and personalised coaching, continuous portfolio-based assessment and final interviews instead of exams to create a superior learning experience that will thoroughly prepare students to succeed at Australia’s top universities,” he added.

Funding development

In addition to developing its UNSW partnership, OpenLearning said it will also deploy newly raised funds to further design and develop its OpenCreds product, to fund further acquisition opportunities and to conduct other enhancements to the OpenLearning platform.

“We are very pleased with the level of support from our existing investors,” Mr Brimo said.

“The placement will enable OpenLearning to pursue a number of immediate growth opportunities that align with our strategy while at the same time executing on the transformative agreements that we’ve signed with UNSW Global and continuing to grow our core platform business,” he added.

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