The Digitisation of Learning and Provider Compliance
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the online learning space has transformed for good.
With this comes changes in policy, compliance, and standards. Providers should ensure they are meeting student expectations of online learning, as well as compliance standards.
The changing learning landscape
It’s no secret that online learning is now a critical component of the educational system. Once an afterthought to face-to-face classes, online learning is now many students’ preferred choice.
Online learning also holds the key to post-COVID recovery, allowing providers to appeal to a broader student population.
The Minister for Education and Youth, the Hon Alan Tudge MP, notes that “the global online e-learning market is forecast to grow from $130 billion to more than $470 billion by 2026. This growth is driven by students around the world seeking lower-cost education, as well as greater flexibility in how and where they learn.”
Providers need to be in tune with students’ growing appetite for online learning and deliver purpose-built courses to thrive in the post-COVID landscape.
The need for providers to adapt
Students have now come to expect online learning options that are on par with face-to-face classes. Even before COVID, students preferred online study, with 50.7% opting for online study over blended learning and in-class study. Post-COVID, 81% of students prefer online study.
With COVID halving the number of international students choosing to study in Australia, providers need to provide a high-quality online learning experience to attract and retain both international and domestic students.
The Hon Alan Tudge MP notes that “there are opportunities for institutions and Australia to build out a broader set of delivery options, and reach a massive market… with greater use of online delivery or hybrid learning models at different price offerings.”
To take advantage of this growing trend, you should seek to implement or improve your existing online learning offerings.
This can be done via measures like:
By offering a quality experience to students from all walks of life, you can set your organisation apart as a top-tier yet inclusive learning provider.
The importance of provider compliance in online learning
With the growing significance of online learning comes increased compliance requirements. The Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) is undertaking a strategic review of online learning in the Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector, as outlined in the Regulatory Strategy 2020-22 report.
The review seeks to address opportunities and risks relating to online learning, ensuring compliance and quality remains at a high standard. This encompasses the entire student experience, not just the training and assessment component.
Providers should strive to ensure they are fully compliant, as this helps to support the integrity of the qualifications you offer. To draw students to your online learning modules, they must feel confident of the quality and legitimacy of the qualifications they will receive.
Compliance also increases the Australian VET sector’s overall perception and reputation, helping it become more attractive to international students.
ASQA’s requirements and standards for online learning
To ensure that online education in Australia is conducted at a high level, ASQA has set particular standards and requirements. These include:
Tech options for education providers to consider
In Cisco and Optus’s The Tipping Point for Digitisation of Education Campuses report, clear steps are laid out to help providers implement online learning. These go as follows:
1. Implementing a robust, secure and scalable platform.
2. Adopting a digital-first mindset.
3. Prioritising digital expenditure over campus expenses.
4. Integrating digital experiences into campus master planning.
5. Developing high-value industry partnerships.
From digital transfer (learning that involves digitally transferring paper or electronic documents) to fit-for-purpose solutions (learning that is designed to be entirely conducted online), providers have various options available to them based on their existing capabilities.
Online learning provides an exciting opportunity for providers to recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic while establishing themselves as leading online education providers.
Compliance and quality standards are key to ensuring a superior online learning experience for both students and providers.