Impact Of Online Program Management On Higher Education In The Future

impact online program management higher education opm

In the next five years, the online program management industry is expected to develop further and this is mostly due to the increase in remote learning during the pandemic. Online program managers (OPMs) are experts in developing courses, market research, student enrolment and retention, so they are creating value for universities by offering academic courses online. When online education started to emerge, many higher education institutions didn’t have the assets or talent to elevate online programs, so many companies started providing OPM programmes. 

Over time, they have expanded to incorporate student recruitment, retention and support which have proven to be beneficial to universities since most higher education institutions aren’t particularly good at these things. As the OPM programmes turned out to be successful, more and more educational institutions started looking to develop courses remotely. 

Why OPM? 

As OPMs develop the basis for the distribution of online programs, lockdowns during the pandemic have greatly intensified the need for them. Wider audience access means more students can get training remotely. OPMs can also secure the capital necessary for course development which reduces the exposure and risks the institutions face when developing courses. Furthermore, institutions that outsource quality online program management can cope without additional workforce and skills. Essentially, OPMs serve as comprehensive third-party solutions for the development, financing, and distribution of online courses. 

The Right OPM Partner 

Choosing the right online program management partner is really about cost-effectiveness. For an educational institution, it is very effective to outsource quality online program management providers that do all data research to develop delivery approaches. When choosing the OPM provider, institutions need to evaluate the content they provide, skills/tools they use, their dedication to the constant course development process, and their willingness to provide constant student support. Traditionally, OPMs operate under a revenue share model which means that they finance the project upfront and recover the costs by sharing the profit earned. An alternative solution is to choose to collaborate with OPMs under a co-investment model, meaning that the OPM provider and institution both invest the necessary capital and earn profit from it. 

opm education e-learning

The Future Of OPM 

According to the dominant market tendencies, this decade is bound to see significant improvement in the domain of online program management. With the constant growth of remote learning needs, the demand for OPM providers has never been larger. The question that arises in such a situation is whether OPM providers can successfully meet this demand without compromising their service quality. Many OPMs offer round the clock help desk services that can offer resolutions instantly which in return, maintains productivity at optimal levels. Market trends currently reveal that OPMs perform better when they optimise the course development and delivery from the viewpoint of students. Therefore, they aim to create courses that are clear to students and offer them more value. For that, they use constructive feedback from students and faculty members and continue to improve their strategies to fit the needs of their consumers. 

In future, OPM will likely be working on improving flexibility to provide their services on-demand which would eliminate the need for long-term contracts for OPM services. This might also potentially lower costs and increase institutions’ efficiency. OPM can further offer more value for students by providing them with tailor-made services, student counselling, and time management training. This enables students to derive better education while considering other requirements that come with it. With higher education enrolment dramatically shifting from primarily students who enrol directly after high school to adult learners, institutions will have to redefine their strategies, recruiting process, and advertising messages. 

Furthermore, adults in the current higher education demographic choose higher education alternatives based on factors other than just cost so institutions need to start analysing what lies behind these choices. OPM will act here as a bridge to higher education so students can successfully start their studies, get well prepared, gain some confidence, and persevere. It will be customised to the needs of working adults who have children, jobs and expenses. With so much on their plate, starting college can be intimidating and very time-consuming, so most adults have doubts about whether they have what it takes, mentally, emotionally and physically. 

Online Programs Optimization

In the aftermath of the pandemic and with online learning on the rise, it is clear that the development of online courses is a must. By implementing custom plans and enhancing student services, OPM providers are getting the space they need to grow and add value. Choosing the right OPM can help the faster development of university programs and boost their efficiency as well. This also means that universities that don’t hesitate to get involved in online learning will be the leaders in the ever-changing education landscape.

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