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Evolution of OPM, OPM providers

The Evolution of OPM and How They Will Lead the Transition to Online Education

Posted on : October 11th 2022

Author : Sanjeev Kumar Jain

For some time, it has been known that online education will eventually become the norm for millions of students worldwide. Traditional in-person classes have moved online, and the reality is that universities and colleges need to offer their programs to new clientele. Online program management (OPM) providers can achieve this goal while providing new revenue streams.

Who or What Are OPMs?

OPM providers help institutions with tools, services, and expertise quickly take their programs online. Offering a comprehensive range of services such as student enrolment, course design, technology platforms, student retention, and student placement in employment or training opportunities either as a package or as individual services on a fee basis, OPM providers save institutions the effort of developing digital resources themselves. The use of OPM providers has steadily grown, particularly during the pandemic years. In 2020, an upsurge of 35.9 & 35.4% was witnessed 2020 - 2021 in terms of new partnerships between OPM providers and universities.

Graphical representation of OPM partnerships with universities around the world


Launching an online program is expensive, costing an institution invest millions of dollars in moving through the design and development phases to a point at which they can profitably offer and operate online programs. Using a revenue-sharing model, OPM providers cover those costs in partnership deals while taking a share of the incoming tuition revenue. An estimate by Market intelligence firm HolonIQ suggests that about 80% to 90% of OPM partnerships worldwide are based on a revenue-sharing model.

A recent estimate by HolonIQ indicates that the global OPM market, although still heavily weighted to the United States, was a US$5.7 billion business globally while suggesting that the worldwide OPM market will grow 19% annually, reaching US$13.3 billion in 2025. If this prediction comes true, the OPM business will become one of the fastest-growing market segments in international education in the first half of this decade.

global OPM market

Challenges Facing Higher Education

One of the biggest challenges facing institutions worldwide is adopting digital technologies, including those that support the delivery of online programs.

OPM partnerships are one response, among other answers, to this challenge as they help institutions expand their capacity for online program delivery. According to a Holon survey, institutions have taken a strategic partnership approach to digital outsourcing capability.

Regardless of the motivation, the scale of the digital adoption challenge is measured in part by the growing demand for OPM services. According to ListedTech, Africa, Asia, Latin America, Europe, and North America saw maximum adoption of OPM services.¹

demand for OPM services

Things to Consider when Choosing an OPM Provider

Two basic OPM business models exist: The first includes a vendor providing almost every service required to create an education program. The vendor takes care of most, if not all, up-front costs and associated risks of program development in return for a significant share of program revenues for a few years. In this model, educational institutes don’t have to invest any money upfront when developing new programs but can still make profits new revenue model. The second model is an à la carte fee-based “pick-and-choose” service, a model that has recently gained traction. In this model, educational institutes choose only the services they want, for example, having the OPM handle program marketing and student recruitment while the institute creates courses.

Because the nature of OPM service providers and the expectations of institutions are evolving, three key areas should be considered when choosing an OPM:

  1. Data Integration and Technology Systems: To improve and increase retention and graduation rates, institutions must shortlist OPM providers based on how well they integrate with their customer relationship management tools, student information systems, data systems, and other platforms.

  2. Flexibility: Institutions should consider an OPM provider’s flexibility to ensure maximum revenue utilization and benefits for the institution.

  3. Continuous Improvement: Whether the OPM provider is committed to continuously improving every process involving courses, attendance, student engagement, and student support need to be considered. Evaluating whether an OPM offers full student life-cycle support, faculty training, 24×7 student support, outcomes-based course design and development, and attention to mission, culture, and tradition is important when choosing the right OPM provider.

Tutor Support

Today improvements in digital learning have meant that students can log in to their course anywhere and anytime using a computer, laptop, tablet, or mobile phone, making it possible to fit study sessions around their work and home life.

Students don’t study alone because from enrolment to completion, they can always rely on personal tutors, and education specialists with experience as advisory teachers for support and guidance on lessons, assignments, assessments, and more, leading to tutor support being an essential part of today’s academic landscape.

How Straive Can Help?

Many OPMs are not fully equipped and/or lack the expertise to develop course content. Even if they are willing to spend money to assemble a team of writers, effectively delivering a worthwhile content product can take years.

Straive has the experience, expertise, and capabilities to develop content at scale and distribute these through OPMs, reducing the cost and time of producing content. Our content development model can facilitate twice as many students without additional expenses, which can help institutions reduce the cost of buying new equipment or teaching in-person learning. We also provide content and tutor support that enable students to stay ahead in their learning.

In addition, our model focuses on leveraging advanced technology to create efficient and effective online learning, which makes remote learning more interactive and boosts student engagement.

Justin, “The Rise of Online Program Management (OPM),” ListedTech, March 9, 2022,

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