For some time, it has been known that distance learning would eventually become the norm for millions of students in North America. Not only are traditional in-person classes now being taught over Zoom or Google Meet, but the reality is that universities and colleges need to offer their programs to new clienteles. Online program management systems can achieve this goal while offering new revenue streams.
Just a few years ago, nobody could have imagined the speed at which educational institutions would be forced to make the transition to the new ‘Zoom’ classroom setting. Since March 2020, educators worldwide have shown their ability to grow, learn, adapt, and evolve rapidly and pursue their teaching to the next generation.
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 are becoming not just relevant, but a staple for the most innovative and proactive schools, up and down the continent.
For any higher education institution looking to thrive in the future, the adoption of an online program management system is more or less mandatory. As we can see in the graph below, it is no longer a question of if they should install an OPM system; it is rather how fast they can implement it to ensure they don’t miss the boat.
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 OPM 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 OPM 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.
Historical Agreement Signatures
While the first graph of this post shows the number of programs being offered within OPM systems over time, this graph represents the historical contracts in the online program management category. We see an upward trend, even if we put aside the record year of 2020. Last year, almost 150 new contracts were signed between institutions and an OPM company. Important note: If Institution “A” signed a contract with Company “X” in 2010 to offer 25 programs and signed again in 2015 for another 10 programs, we only count this once, the date being the first contract.
University and college employees: have you seen an increase in student satisfaction or retention since you have implemented an OPM system? Comment on social media @listedtech