It has been known for some time that distance learning would eventually become the norm for millions of students in the United States and Canada. But what nobody could have seen coming was the speed at which educational institutions would be forced to make the transition to the new ‘Zoom’ classroom setting.
The events of 2020 taught educators worldwide that their ability to grow, learn, adapt, and evolve as rapidly as possible determines their place in the sector’s future.
With colleges and universities now reflecting on the turbulence of 2020 and the quality of their services, widespread efforts are being made to enhance the student experience through more dynamic online learning. This is one of the reasons why Online Program Management Systems (OPMs) are becoming not just relevant, but a staple for the most innovative and proactive schools up and down the country.
For any higher education institution looking to thrive in 2021 and beyond, the adoption of an Online Program Management system is more or less mandatory.
What is an Online Program Management System?
Online Program Management provides universities and colleges with the opportunity to bring their courses and academic programs to distance learners. Typically, a partnership with an Online Program Management partner provides access to an extensive range of services and functionalities, covering everything from market research and enrolment to course design and candidate retention management.
Efficiency, cost-effectiveness, flexibility, and convenience form the core of all high-quality Online Program Management systems for higher education institutions. Hence, even if COVID-19 had not radically transformed the face of higher education in the US and Canada, OPM would still enable those adopting it to gain a competitive edge.
The Primary Applications of Online Program Management
Running a higher education institution is in many respects similar to running any other kind of business. Particularly with competition among providers at an all-time high, it takes a proactive and hard-fought approach to attract the right candidates, to get them on board, to hold on to them, and to ensure they leave satisfied with their experience.
This is where Online Program Management providers can help. They can assist higher education institutions in key areas, such as recruitment and engagement.
Finding potential candidates in the first place and converting them into ‘customers’ should always be a top priority in higher education. Getting the job done right means developing a detailed understanding of both your target market and your competitors in order to create a superior offer and to market it to the right people. An OPM can assist in the development and implementation of an efficient and cost-effective recruitment strategy for any educational institution.
Communication and Engagement
One of the biggest benefits of an innovative Online Program Management system is the way in which it drives engagement and enhances communication between faculty members (and general student support services) and off-campus students.
OPM Vs. In-House
Setting up and running a program management system in-house without third-party support can be an appealing prospect on the surface. Along with the fact that nobody knows your business better than you, there are the obvious benefits of saving money and retaining full control.
However, there are several major benefits to working with an external OPM partner that should be taken into consideration. A few examples of which include the following:
- Reduced Costs – Working with an OPM partner means gaining access to a fully scalable system, wherein you only pay for the services, features, and functionalities you need.
- Staff Training – All the training and coaching your staff members need to get the best out of the OPM will be available from the provider.
- Recruitment Boost – Your institution is almost guaranteed to benefit from a significantly more efficient recruitment drive than would otherwise be possible, boosting enrollments and ensuring the right candidates are targeted.
Depending on the exact type of OPM system you choose, there may also be no specific upfront costs to foot. Many OPM providers offer their services by way of a revenue share model, wherein commissions are paid per enrolment on an ongoing basis.