A Fee Increase for the OpenLearning Course Platform

Updated on May 29, 2020
creativearts2009 profile image

Cecelia grew up in South Australia. During her work in Kindergartens, Cecelia also became interested in speech development as literacy.

Image by pawanseo from Morguefile.com
Image by pawanseo from Morguefile.com

What is OpenLearning?

OpenLearning (Open Learning Global Pty Ltd) is an online learning platform that utilises the principles of social media to increase engagement. OpenLearning sells its learning support technology to business, government, the education sector and the general public. It is "headquartered" in Sydney and primarily based in Kuala Lumpur. It has won awards for services to education in Southeast Asia.

It claims to be affiliated with Taylor's University, UNSW Playconomics, and Malaysia MOOCS. Clicking on "Institutions" will bring up another list of institutions that may have used the platform at one time or another.

However, OpenLearning should NOT BE CONFUSED with Open Universities Australia. Open Universities Australia offers fully accredited subjects and degrees from the University Of New South Wales, Curtin University, The University of New England, Flinders University, Swinbourne Institute of Technology, Australian National University and several other registered tertiary institutions. The enrollment procedures, costs and accreditation of the two sites are very different, although the names are similar.

What is Changing at OpenLearning?

OpenLearning had been a free platform on which to host an online course. For a writer with shareable skills, this represented another avenue of making money, with little investment other than time and effort.

In February 2019, I received an email stating that OpenLearning (which used to take a 15% commission on paid courses sold) will now charge educators to host courses.

The commission collected from sale of enrollments had been reduced, but this in no way made up for the cost of maintaining a course on their platform for the small time tutor or hobbyist wishing to share their skills.


What Did This Mean for Users?

At the time, I asked myself what the result of the site going to a provider pays system might be. It would certainly reduce the number of "free" courses on offer, and discourage less dedicated providers.

  • One would hope that it would cut down the number of inactive courses. Speaking as a keen student, it was frustrating to enroll in a course and find that it was no longer supported. Some professor may have set it up for a class at some stage, and once the semester was finished, lost interest completely.
  • Hopefully reduce student disappointment when certificates are not delivered. Under the old system, promised certificates were not delivered when the provider lost interest in marking manually, but failed to set up an automated marking system. (Most certificates are only evidence of "participation", because the site had no academic registration of its own. Students could not use the certificates to prove their qualification, merely their effort and interest. However, many students still enjoyed collecting their certificates.)
  • Unarguably Increase the costs for course providers. (This is obvious!) Many skilled low budget providers would be forced out of the system.
  • Reduce the variety and choice of online courses. Originally you could find a course on almost any area of interest. Once providers are required to pay a subscription, less commercially viable and special interest courses would of necessity disappear.

What Did the Change Mean for Me as a Provider?

I had to complete the boring task of copying my material off the medium of OpenLearning. I had a "Poetry Appreciation and Analysis Skills" course on OpenLearning, and was well qualified to run it.

  • But I found that the online medium in the OpenLearning format had its drawbacks. It would most likely not be worth my paying the monthly amount in the hopes that - with the inactive and free courses out of the way - my course which offered supported tuition would be discovered by more students.
  • With no advertising or support from OpenLearning, the course had fallen down the list until it would have been difficult for students to even find. It was easily overshadowed by other free courses, ten minute courses and courses that could be clicked through, requiring no real evidence of learning.

Video Introduction to My Course From OpenLearning

Could an Independent Provider make a Sucess Under the Old System?

In my experience, it was difficult to attract students and make a profit.

  • I had one or two unsolicited international student enrollments. One diligent student took a lot of time and attention during their enrollment, and commented that the course offered incredible value.
  • I was cautious about the educational claims I made. I could support the skills required for senior school and early university literature study. However, I could not award a school grade outside of the educational education system. (It was frustrating when other providers popped up, making unsupportable claims, and potentially attracting more students.)
  • I had envisioned enrolling my real life students in the course and interacting with them online. However, I discovered most eligible students preferred their regular face-to-face sessions with me as their tutor.
  • On the positive side, the course had 90% automated marking so students wouldn't be waiting too long for me to notice their enrollment and respond. The final assignment was an essay that had to be marked manually, so the certificate would not issue to someone who had not participated honestly.

Would I Set the Course Up Again Elsewhere?

As I take my material down, I consider my options. It would be a lot of work setting the lot up again. I had back-up on my computer, but just in case that was in isolated files, I have removed it from the OpenLearning site page by page and put it into one document.

  1. I could make an ebook, but that would require marketing.
  2. I could set up again on Udemy, a platform that claims to be free for educators. (That would mean creating numerous pages, and setting all the multi-choice and other exercises up again in the new platform.)
  3. I could make the course elements available as a series of individual hubs, or entries in my blog.
  4. I could print the exercises out as paper sheets and test them on my real life students. (At least that way I would get paid per lesson!)
  5. I could sadly wave goodbye to an era and keep the material for an unknown project.

In conclusion, I think that I have been lucky that of the many online communities I have joined, only two have closed or out-priced themselves for me... A few games are no longer supported—it is sad to lose online material at times.

2020 Prices

It has been brought to my attention that prices have been increased again in 2020. A quick scroll through of offerings shows that the platform now supports primarily institutional based courses. Some may offer now some accreditation, such as professional development points for specific industries. Several appear to be excellent emergency response courses.

This is good for the students, but the independent provider has pretty much been forced off the platform. I am thinking that the platform gained popularity by initially being available for free. Subsequently more commercial decisions have been made.

Prices begin at $50 AU per month, if paid annually, (or $80 per month, paid in installments). This supports 1 educator account and up to 250 learners. A team account costs $400 per month for 5 educators and up to 500 learners. An institution account costs $825 / month. (These figures were advertised 5/29/2020 and may be subject to change.)

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2019 Cecelia


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, toughnickel.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://maven.io/company/pages/privacy

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)