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How OPMs Will Lead the Transition to Online Education

25 Oct, 2021

Alimera’s OPM+ model helps pave the way for online education, using hybrid learning at a low cost.

Not too long ago, remote learning was a rare, unrefined specialty. Now, as a result of COVID-19, online learning has become a must-have option for all universities. Going online is not only a matter of safety; educational institutions are starting to realize the flexibility and possibilities offered by remote learning.

Transitioning into a flexible online model is easier said than done. Last year, after in-person courses were abruptly halted, universities scrambled to establish a replacement online model. By the autumn of 2020, around 44% of universities had developed fully online instruction and 21% were using a hybrid model. Results varied with each institution, as there were concerns about how to maintain a consistent quality of education when shifting to online learning.

To facilitate the transition, many universities rely on Online Program Management (OPM) models. OPM companies provide universities digital marketing strategies and technology infrastructure to increase overall revenue growth, student retention, and educational engagement. This saves institutions the effort of developing digital resources themselves. Having steadily grown over the past decade, OPM companies have exploded in usage within the past year. In 2020, 180 partnerships were formed between OPX companies and universities, with 144 partnerships established this year, as of July.

The problem with most OPM models is that they try to offer universities a “get rich quick” value proposition, while incurring heavy costs themselves. OPX giants like 2U, Pearson, and Wiley have spent a great deal of money on producing content while aggressively recruiting students. They have even gone so far as to use tuition-sharing agreements to pay for OPM costs. And in the U.S., OPMs have been scrutinized by lawmakers for their inefficiency.

Instead of spending so much money on content and marketing, Alimera’s OPM+ model focuses on leveraging advanced technology to create efficient and effective online learning.

First, Alimera’s technology makes remote learning more interactive, thereby boosting student engagement. Labs and other hands-on exercises are provided and are simple to integrate into lessons.

Furthermore, the cost of producing content would be dramatically reduced. Alimera’s blended education model can facilitate twice as many students without additional expenses, because instructors wouldn’t require as many teacher assistants or equipment that they would need for in-person learning.

Lastly, Alimera’s OPM+ model consists of zero marketing costs. EU universities are government-funded and typically enroll fewer students than their U.S. counterparts, so they do not need to spend as much money in advertising. Alimera targets efficiency over expansion, so EU universities can benefit greatly from our hybrid learning model.

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