In collaboration with Hunter TAFE (Technical and Further Education), Sydney-based edutech startup OpenLearning has launched Learn.com.au, a new online vocational education and training (VET) platform.
Learn.com.au courses are all online, self-paced and available on the OpenLearning platform. Students complete activities and share their work with their peers in a highly engaging learning community. The courses primarily focus on connecting ideas to real-life scenarios, helps in developing transferable workplace skills and builds confidence by enabling hands-on experiences.
Moreover, students can receive support and guidance along the way from a network of industry experts and like-minded learners. The courses are free of charge, but if students want to receive a nationally recognized qualification or certificate, they have to pay. The platform aims to increase access to vocational education and training at affordable rates.
With recent data revealing that only 38 percent of students who enroll in VET programs complete their courses, the Learn.com.au model enables students to try out courses before paying any fees. When a student is ready to be assessed and certified by Hunter TAFE, Learn.com.au charges less than 50 percent of the industry average.
OpenLearning CEO Adam Brimo says this model has the potential to transform the vocational education sector in Australia and demonstrate the viability of a ‘payment on certification’ model for higher education.
Christine Warrington, Hunter TAFE Institute Director, said the Learn.com.au project has been designed to provide students with a pathway to developing qualified job-ready skills.
The platform has launched with two qualifications available, a Certificate IV in Leadership and Management, and a Certificate IV in Business. Each qualification is comprised of up to 12 short courses, or units, focused on developing core personal and employment skills, with students able to then choose electives.
At the end of each short course, students can choose to pay a fee of $125 to be assessed and certified, around $1,250 to $1,500 for a full Certificate or qualification, compared to an average of $3,000 through existing providers. However, students will not be eligible for financial support from the government from the program. Brimo said,
With Learn.com.au, there is no barrier to learning and students can quickly decide whether a course is right for them before paying anything. It’s more sustainable and beneficial for students, society and government.
OpenLearning’s unique, social and interactive approach to learning has been adopted with great success by leading institutions and government bodies around the world, including The University of New South Wales, Malaysia Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC), Guokr.com and Australia Unlimited.