Online learning platform OpenLearning has signed a deal to deliver the Australian government’s first ever massive open online course (MOOC).
The Office of Best Practice Regulation in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet has commissioned OpenLearning to deliver a Regulatory Impact Analysis (RIA) MOOC that will train thousands of public servants over the next four years.
It follows OpenLearning signing an agreement with the Malaysian government to deliver 15% of the countries public university courses online. It’s all part of OpenLearning’s ambitious plan to offer MOOCs as a viable way for organisations, more than just universities, to deliver training to thousands of people.
In February the muru-D graduate raised $1.7 million in seed funding, $1 million of which came from entrepreneur Clive Mayhew. In the months since, it has grown the number of students using its platform from 125,000 to over 200,000 and grown its team from eight to 20. It has an ambitious goal of reaching a million students by the end of the year, which co-founder Adam Brimo says is possible as more users sign up as part of the Malaysian government deal.
“It’s really starting to ramp up and this is just the beginning, the second half of this year is going to be quite aggressive growth,” he says.
“We’re really ramping up what we’re doing in Malaysia, with a lot of traction we’re seeing there, we’re expecting hundreds of thousands of students to join OpenLearning later this year.”
Brimo says the deal with the Australian government is particularly important as it is an example of government taking MOOCs seriously as a training tool.
“At the moment people don’t think about using MOOCs for professional development; they think they’re just the domain of the university,” he says.
“What we’re seeing now is the government taking them seriously. They can see the potential of the MOOC to create an effective learning environment for policymakers, for the public, for employees worldwide.”
The startup is now beginning the process of drumming up interest in a Series A funding round.
“What we’re looking to do is raise a substantial amount of funding to really execute on all the opportunities we’re seeing in Australia, Malaysia and China. We’re hoping that funding comes from Australia, but we’re talking to investors in Singapore, Malaysia, and China and we’ll see where that comes from,” he says.