[Video] Online Program Management (OPM) Partnerships Explained

08/15/16   |  
Keypath Education

We sat down with our online program management (OPM) leadership team to find out how these partnerships work and how they help institutions launch and grow online programs. Here’s what they had to say.

"An online program management is really about access. Institutions do provide access mainly to students who are attending the class. But many other students want to attend that university and don't have the opportunity to do that.

Online program management allows access to a broader group, and this is really kind of a high growth part of the educational system.

We have a very deep understanding of what factors and program structures, disciplines and verticals are successful from an online perspective. And so, we've put together a very comprehensive process through which we analyze which programs would be the right programs to take online. And then, what factors do we have to create around the program to ensure that we realize the success and the growth that the institution desires?

Obviously, we're more than a marketing company. We're a marketing company, admissions, student services, curriculum development. But the marketing is where we have our strongest history, and marketing really matters. What's happening with online learning right now is that the number of courses coming online is coming three times faster than the number of online students. Online students are growing, but the number of courses coming online are coming on much, much faster. That means you automatically are in a steal-share world. It means you need to be in the hands of really smart marketers who know what to do in that environment. That's Keypath.

We start each partnership by getting to know everything there is to know about the University and everything there is to know about the target market.

The unique thing about Keypath marketing approach is how fast and how effectively we're able to get into market when our partners launch. And then how well we optimize once we're there.

There's a very methodical approach to getting in market. We could even say through multiple phases of a discovery and a development and getting in market where we really do a lot of the upfront research and prepare ourselves. Then we enter a phase of readying everything we need to and then getting in market. So it's very strategic. But at the same time, we have to be very fluid and adaptable, and what works for one partner might not be the best approach for another partner. And we might learn things along the way.

At the end of the day, we're bringing in the most prepared student: the student that is ready to succeed. We understand their motivation, and we match it against the value proposition of each university partner program.

Retention is a very important part of our process because it's what helps students be successful throughout their program and what really helps them persist. We know a lot of our students are busy adults, so the support that we offer really keeps them focused on what is the end goal and what do they need to do to succeed? We want to make sure that we support them through every class in their program so they have the opportunity to be successful.

The primary role on our team that's really committed to retention is the Student Success Adviser. These are people who are really passionate about students and really care about the track of their students and helping them be successful through to completion. They get to know the students that come in, that are accepted. They learn a little bit about what are their goals? Why are they in this program? What are they hoping to get out of it?

All of these things impact the student experience. So we have the ability of coming into the situation, looking at how they're currently supporting their programs, provide feedback around how we would improve them, and work very collaboratively with them to come up with a process that lines up with their existing processes but in-turn, enhances the whole student experience.
This is a team that has come together to change the face of education, has come together to really future-proof universities today, and while we all come from different backgrounds and different experiences, the culture that we've built is like I've never seen.

We wanted to bring in people who will be passionate about what we do and how they're impacting and changing lives on a daily basis. We really believe in that philosophy because I think it also creates a wonderful environment to work in.

I think a lot of institutions get a little bit nervous about the concept of working with an outside partner or vendor. I think the thing we need to convey is that it's really a partnership. There is no control that we have that the academic institution does not. We're simply there really as an extension of the university staff that has expertise in bringing this to life.

Our mission is that we change lives for educatian. If you think about what we do, we're impacting so many people all the way from the faculty we work with, to our partners, to the students. And if you hear some of our stories, they're beautiful stories about people who had great aspirations, and they wanted to use education as a means to get to their final destination.

I got to meet one of the most dynamic students. It was amazing to hear what she received from the school, what she received in terms of empowerment, in terms of love from her family, and in terms of just accomplishment. It was amazing to hear her say the words that as marketing people, we hope people get, and it was just a very powerful moment.

You put in so much work trying to get the right students and change people's lives, and then to see that end result is one of the best things there is."

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