Online Pilots

A major focus of the Products and Services Diversification Programme is understanding the opportunities, challenges and mechanics of online education. Via a number of online platform pilots we are testing:

  • New ways that global learners would like to engage with New Zealand education

  • The role that online education plays in both growing and diversifying international education

  • How ENZ Manapou ki te Ao and the rest of government can add value in this space

  • What factors may have an impact on the sector’s ability to innovate and participate in online education. We have phased the work in two stages:

Stage 1 –Pilot with a Rented Platform (FutureLearn Pilots #1 and #2)

Partnering with FutureLearn, a London-based online education platform with a global learner base of 18 million people, we have run two pilot campaigns. Further info about the campaigns and reports on what was learnt from the pilots are detailed below.

Stage 2 – Pilot a NZ Branded and Owned platform (Think New Platform)

Building on the learnings from the FutureLearn pilots, we are developing a New Zealand branded platform to host exclusively NZ content. Read on for more information about this pilot and how you can be involved.

Benefits for Providers

Explore online distribution models for your content

Understand online audience demographics and behaviour

Enjoy a low-risk, low-cost test-and-learn environment

Profile your brand on a platform with a large global learner base

Who was this opportunity for?

With this pilot, we showcased short, taster courses that represented 6 – 20 hours of learning. There was also scope to include short credit-bearing courses (eg. micro-credentials).

Registrations of interest were open to both registered and non-registered education providers, EdTech companies, regional economic bodies, and more.

This has been a very useful pilot programme to gauge global demand for our virtual reality programming and 3D modelling & animation courses, with insightful data analysis at the end. A big thanks for this well organised pilot programme.

Peter Dong – Founder, ByteEd / VR Voom

Rented Online Education Platform Pilots with FutureLearn

Pilot #1 - 2021

In 2021 ENZ Manapou ki te Ao tested the market for New Zealand’s online courses with a New Zealand-branded collection of short courses. At the end of the initial 4-month campaign period (June - September 2021) the collection contained 22 courses from 14 providers, attracting nearly 63,000 enrolments from more than 48,000 individual learners across more than 200 countries. Enrolments continued to grow beyond 95,000, with the number of courses on offer increasing to over 30 before Pilot #2 was launched. You can visit the New Zealand Collection on FutureLearn and try some of the courses for yourself: New Zealand Collection - FutureLearn

Pilot #1 established there is online demand for courses from New Zealand providers, willingness by many in the sector to pilot online learning, and that New Zealand courses can attract learners in full time employment.

Explore the key data and insights about online learning we gathered from the first phase. Download our report about FutureLearn Phase 1

Pilot #2 - 2022

On the strength of the results from Pilot #1 a second Rented Platform Pilot with FutureLearn was devised to test primarily:

  • revenue generation, via the introduction of a compulsory paywall on some or all of the NZ short courses;

  • the ability for paid online short courses to generate leads for further study, and the ability of providers to manage and convert leads from short online courses.

This pilot ran from July to October 2022, with the New Zealand collection growing to 70+ courses from 28 NZ Education Providers, underlining the increasing degree of interest from the sector in online education. This collection now represents the largest single collection of NZ online courses available on a global platform.

Full results and findings from this pilot are due for publication in early 2023.

Key dates for the FutureLearn Pilot

14 April 2022 – Registrations of interest closed

30 June – end of September – Campaign went live

Watch the information webinar

On 31 March 2022 we held an information webinar for education providers interested in the second phase of our Rented Platform Pilot with FutureLearn. Catch up on the webinar below to learn about our journey piloting New Zealand-branded online learning.

New Zealand Owned Platform Pilot 2022-23

ENZ Manapou ki te Ao is seeking expressions of interest from education providers to participate in this next platform pilot. Register your interest here.

The ‘owned’ platform pilot is a New Zealand branded platform for online learning that will be managed and marketed on behalf of the sector by ENZ Manapou ki te Ao. The platform will be branded Think New and deliver free and paid short courses. Building on the learnings from the FutureLearn pilots, this pilot seeks to deliver these benefits:

  • Test the impact of the NZ education brand in the global online environment
  • Stimulate the sector to think beyond the status quo to consider new target audiences, different education offerings and modes of delivery, and to increase their focus on life-long learning
  • test the benefits of having ownership of the brand, the user experience, and the learner data

Frequently asked questions

There is no direct cost to providers other than the time and resources used to create/publish courses on FutureLearn and to set up lead management processes. Providers may or may not choose to conduct their own paid promotions for their courses to supplement the promotion that ENZ is funding.

Shortly after the campaign comes to an end, ENZ will publish a report encompassing the results and insights drawn from the campaign. Anonymised learner data will be made available via Tableau Online, as has been done for the first pilot. Providers will be free to maintain a partnership with FutureLearn and/or explore other avenues for online education development as they see fit.

Having a course on is intended to be complementary to any other platform you may use, be it an alternative third-party platform, or your own online education portal. Subject to the details of your FutureLearn partnership agreement, a FutureLearn partnership is generally not an exclusive arrangement.

Registrations of interest closed on 14 April 2022

The campaign will run from 30 June until around the end of September 2022.

The campaign is scheduled to launch on 30 June 2022. Courses can in principle be added to the collection at any time, so a course can be added after this date, but those that are ready for promotion from 30 June will benefit the most from the promotion in terms of traffic and enrolments. There is also the possibility of a course being listed on 30th June (and therefore promoted), but not in fact go live for learning until later.

The primary test for this pilot is around revenue generation. This means that learners will need to pay a low fee – around NZD10 per enrolment.