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How Ed-tech Is Disrupting University Entry And The Women Leading The Changes

The pandemic changed a great deal about our way of life and the education sector was one of the areas hardest hit. Working in the education industry for more than 15 years as an education delivery expert and since 2018 as the managing director for the ed-tech platform, OpenLearning, Cherie Diaz says the pandemic has accelerated the need for education providers to develop business models which meet the needs of learners who are increasingly focused on quality, support and outcomes.

Author - Pamela Connellan

As Diaz says: “When COVID hit globally we knew that the education sector would need support in moving completely online, but that some providers would take the opportunity to truly innovate and set the benchmark for education moving forward.”

The ASX-listed OpenLearning platform oversees the admissions, student support, teaching and learning delivery of the UNSW Transition Program Online (TPO). Diaz and OpenLearning were tasked with goal of reimagining the successful UNSW Transition Program — which has been running since 2007 — to a digital-native online program utilising OpenLearning’s innovative tech stack in response to the pandemic.

The Australian online education market is expected to grow 8.2% and reach $7.9b in 2021, according to IBISWorld’s latest forecast. Lifelong learning, which includes both non-accredited courses and accredited courses, accounts for 95%, or $7.5b, of the country’s online education market.

Diaz, who prior to joining OpenLearning oversaw operational delivery of vocational and higher education colleges, says that “online-first programs like the TPO are more than just a COVID fix. Rather, it’s an opportunity for technology to enable long-term benefits to both learners and education providers using digital-first and best-in-class online ed-tech”.

Students feel the same way

OpenLearning’s students say the same, a recent OpenLearning graduate, Janine, from the Philippines reflected on her experience and said: “[online education] taught me many great things — one of them is how to be a self-reflective and independent learner. I’ve learned not only to engage with my peers, but with the course itself”.

Janine H, from the Philippines, is a UNSW Transition Program Online Graduate.

As a result of the four-month long program, Janine now has a guaranteed entry into first year university at the University of New South Wales – a global top 50 university.

Diaz says programs like the TPO provide alternative pathways for students, adding: “These programs not only allow them to close the gap in meeting the entry requirements for their preferred undergraduate degree, but also help them develop the independent learning and team collaboration skills to thrive at university and beyond.”

Ed-tech has a role to play at each stage of a lifelong learning journey and Diaz says OpenLearning is proud to be supporting a diverse range of partners who support learners across that spectrum: “Whether you’re an international student interested in exploring what avenues the TPO can open for you, a working professional looking to upskill through the range of short courses and micro-credentials available via the OpenLearning marketplace, or an education provider in need of a partner to deliver against your business strategy, the OpenLearning team will be there to help you,” she adds.

For more information on the OpenLearning program, visit here.


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