As long ago as 1992, Greville Rumble was writing about the “competitive vulnerabilities”
of single-mode distance teaching institutions [universities]. In the intervening years the challenges
he described have only intensified, especially so as advancing information and communication
technologies have enabled increasing numbers of campus-based tertiary institutions to enter
distance learning, usually targeting the part-time adult learner market that was formerly the
preserve of single-mode distance learning providers.
There are also wider and larger pressures at play. Disruptive digital technologies, globalisation of
education, constrained government funding, shifting student expectations, and changes in demand
for future skills, are all driving the need both to re-examine fundamental aspects of the ODFL
(open, distance and flexible learning) model (as indeed they are for tertiary education more
generally), and to re-consider the core ODFL principle of “learner-centricity” and what it might
mean within this changing context.
The Open Polytechnic of New Zealand has recently undertaken a major programme of digital and
organisational transformation to meet the changing needs of its distinctive learner constituency,
and to enhance the organisation’s flexibility in responding to changing external factors. This
institutional reengineering that disaggregates functions and unbundles processes and services,
holds potential for both improved performance and enhanced partnering opportunities within a
network of provision.
Seelig, C., Cadwallader, A., & Standring, D. (2019). Transformational change in delivery at Open Polytechnic, New Zealand. Journal of Learning for Development, 6(1), 37–48.https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1212523.pdf