Transformational Change in Delivery at Open Polytechnic, New Zealand

Caroline Seelig, Alan Cadwallader, Doug Standring


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.


Transformation, Change, Open and Flexible Learning, Technical and Vcational training

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