The pandemic disrupting the global education market is providing opportunity for an ASX microcap that serves as a platform for online micro-credentialing.
OpenLearning Limited (ASX: OLL) listed on the ASX in December, just months before COVID-19 shut down schools and campuses across the globe.
The Sydney-based software-as-a-service company serves as a platform for short and long courses on everything from coffee and water safety to cybersecurity and contract law.
It specialises in short courses and micro-credentials – achievements in a specific area of study that are shareable with employers, potential employers and peers.
With regular upskilling considered essential for meeting the demands of the information economy, micro-credentials – also known as nano degrees and web badges – have become a hot topic in the field of Australian continuing education.
Education Minister Dan Tehan says he wants micro-credentials to become a “permanent fixture of the Australian higher education system”.
OpenLearning announced on Monday that for the half-year that finished June 30, its revenue rose 27.8% year-on-year, to $1.0 million. It posted a $2.2 million loss for the six months ended June 30, compared to the same period in 2019, with $5.9 m cash on hand.
As of June 30, the company reported it had over 3.68 million enrollments from 2.5 million registered learners across 3,800 active courses provided by 116 education providers, making it one of the world’s largest online education platforms.
In Australia, where it is used by nine of the country’s 43 universities, it’s seen an increase in enrollments in university-level courses as well as lifelong learning and professional development courses. But it has actually had even more liftoff in Malaysia, where institutions have moved rapidly online in the face of campus closures.
In April, OpenLearning signed an agreement with Heriot-Watt University Malaysia to redesign the first semester of its foundation studies program that began in May and has since been pursuing other partnerships with education providers in Australia, Malaysia, the US and Europe.
Some of these included a partnership agreement with global not-for-profit High Resolves in May, representing its first expansion into the K12 sector, and followed that up in June with a three-year partnership with Australian Catholic University.
A month later, the Company signed an agreement with Open Universities Australia, the country’s largest higher education marketplace with 21 university partners, in a deal that provides universities with a low-risk entry into the micro-credentialing marketplace.
CEO Adam Brimo says that following COVID-19, many segments of society experienced traditional online learning for the first time – and were disappointed.
“Parents, students and professionals are beginning to demand a higher quality online learning experience and education providers will look towards companies like OpenLearning to meet those expectations,” he says.
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