21 December 2021 at 2:32 pm

Global demand for online courses from New Zealand, pilot shows

An Education New Zealand project has revealed the potential for marketing online courses from New Zealand to new audiences around the globe.

Study with NZ 13 Landscape

ENZ has tested the market for New Zealand’s online courses using FutureLearn – a London-based platform with a global learner base of 17 million people.

A total of 22 short courses from 13 New Zealand providers attracted nearly 63,000 enrolments from more than 48,000 individual learners in more than 200 countries between June and October 2021. The pilot project will run through to March 2022.

ENZ’s General Manager of Partnerships and Marketing, Paul Irwin, says the pilot project demonstrates the potential of online study platforms to reach new global audiences and draw learners into more online or onshore study with New Zealand.

“This pilot shows there is an appetite for online courses from New Zealand, as well as our ability to attract learners in full-time employment – a segment with a big potential for growth.

“It also highlights the willingness of many in the New Zealand education sector to build their online presence,” he says.

The pilot project featured digital courses from New Zealand universities, Te Pūkenga – New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology, private training establishments and education technology companies – all promoted under the umbrella of a New Zealand-branded collection of courses.

They covered a wide range of subjects from technology and accounting to languages and culinary skills. English language courses were the most popular, but there was strong interest in 3D animation and courses with a sustainability theme.

“As well as running the digital learning project, ENZ was able to add value by steering the strategy to encourage learners to engage with New Zealand’s unique education brand,” Mr Irwin says.

“Partnering with an existing online education platform like FutureLearn is a smart way to test global demand from online learners, to complement our traditional mobility audience.  We were able to use what we had, bypass the development phase and get to market fast with an established customer base, making it easier to test what did and didn’t work.

“The next steps are to continue evolving our offering on FutureLearn and better understand the pros and cons of partnering with existing online learning brands versus the potential benefits of a New Zealand-only branded platform that uses existing, proven technology.

“But we need to do more work first to develop a viable commercial model for providers. There is also room to improve the ability of providers to convert digital leads into viable pathways for further study,” he says.

ENZ will be adding more courses and providers to the FutureLearn platform between now and March 2022 and is planning the approach for the next three months, as well as options beyond March with FutureLearn. 

If you are interested in being part of the pilot, contact the pilot project manager Tim Brown at tim.brown@enz.govt.nz

Find out more about the Online Learning Rented Platform Pilot by downloading the report and viewing the full pilot data.  Check out Education New Zealand’s Products and Services Diversification Programme Timeline.

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