Open University Malaysia's Market Driven Approach in Fulfilling Varying Needs of Adult Learners

Shaari A. Hamid, (2008) Open University Malaysia's Market Driven Approach in Fulfilling Varying Needs of Adult Learners. In: The 5th Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning, 13-17 July 2008, University of London.

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Open University Malaysia (OUM) is only in her seventh year of operations, but she has carved a niche in an increasingly competitive market. With a mere enrollment of 721 when she first open her doors in August 2001, the corresponding figure stood at 65,384 students in September 2007, recording a compound growth rate of about 40 percent per annum. In terms of geographic concentration, apart from the capital city of Kuala Lumpur and its vicinity, other exceptionally high growth areas are the marginalized populace of the states of Kelantan, Sarawak and Sabah. She has also sailed beyond - to Bahrain, Yemen and islet of Indonesia. Negotiations are also underway for her programs to be offered in a couple of other countries which had learnt of OUM's mark in her expressed market. The key to OUM's success had primarily been the application of market-driven strategies in each of the segments she operates. Though OUM is relatively new, distance education is not. OUM took a strategic approach to determine the existing misfits and formulated alternative ways of addressing them. In the process, OUM was able to serve the latent need of the market with offers that represents a blend of the wisdom of renowned providers adapted to the local legal and socio-cultural constraints imposed upon it. Though resource-tight, OUM took a national roll-out plan which conventionally required formidable investment in facilities and manpower to create her felt-existence and ensure prompt service delivery. She side-stepped those requirements with a network of varying strategic alliances with customers and what would have been potential competitors. At the micro level, access to tertiary education to students from the country's hinterland, with grossly inadequate transportation and telecommunication tools, would have been denied if OUM had not stretched the strategic approach beyond conventional imagination. She abandoned, to better serve this niche, the tested standard blended mode which incorporates complementary regular fortnightly face-to-face sessions. Instead, a modified blended mode of delivery, slanted more to group independent learning was formulated. This paper, in part, presents the profile of this unique micro-segment, describes the modus operandi of the customised delivery mode and discusses its effectiveness in OUM�s endeavour to serve the marginalised group of students.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Distance education ; Market driven
Subjects: L Education > LG Individual institutions (Asia. Africa)
Divisions: Faculty of Business and Management
Depositing User: Shahril Effendi Ibrahim
Date Deposited: 24 Dec 2010 02:03
Last Modified: 18 Jun 2013 04:50

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