100 Universities established an OPM, Bootcamp or Pathways partnership in Q1 2022

Bootcamps are directing more resources B2B and B2G, OPMs are growing existing partnerships further and evolving their technology and healthcare programs.

Education Intelligence Unit

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May 1, 2022

Higher Education, like the broader economy, is awkwardly emerging from an almost exclusively digital, isolated and stimulus fuelled environment into... well it's not clear yet. University Partnerships continued to be established at pace through Q1 2022, albeit at a much slower rate than through 2021.

Universities around the world face a variety of challenges based on context – differing demographic enrolment trends, labor markets, politics, funding and regulatory environments. However, based on our most recent Higher Education Network survey, one challenge that remains consistent globally and is rising above everything else at the moment is the significant challenge of Digital Transformation.

With this backdrop, it is perhaps no surprise that in 2021 over 340 new University Partnerships were established with OPMs to accelerate online programs and over 200 new University Partnerships were established with Bootcamps to offer accelerated digital skills. Straddling the COVID transition, Universities also established nearly 50 new International Education pathways partnerships in 2021 in preparation for a return to international travel and an anticipated/hopeful international student boom born out of pent-up demand.

Based on the momentum of 2021, 2022 looked to potentially deliver anywhere between 800 to 1000 new University Partnerships if demand continued on-trend. However, as we have seen in many other industries now, the Q1 2022 data is revealing 2021 as a one-off surge within a broader long-term but still positive growth environment.

We see this moderation in growth as a healthy development, representing a moment in time where Universities (prompted by a gradual re-opening of face to face learning) are reflecting on their long term strategy around digital transformation and new product offerings, whilst their OPM and Bootcamp partners consolidate on a very strong period of partnership growth and look to double down with their current partners on scaling existing programs and developing new innovative offerings together.

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Bootcamps are doubling down on strong demand from B2B. Q1 2022 revealed a growth trend in Bootcamp University Partnerships more consistent with the long term growth rate, rather than the COVID surge.

Tech Bootcamps re-skilled and up-skilled over 100,000 professionals globally in 2021, up from less than 20,000 in 2015. We expect this number to reach over 380,000 by 2025 representing over $3B of expenditure with significant upside as tech up-skilling models and modes overlap and converge. Governments, employers, universities and colleges everywhere are embracing rapid, high ROI training to build capacity in software, marketing, cyber and tech sales to drive their economies and growth.

The first generation of Bootcamps scaled their B2C offering through physical campuses and over time developed online cohort models. Around 2015, Bootcamps started establishing partnerships with colleges and universities that benefited from the curriculum, practical and project-based learning and much stronger industry linkages. Bootcamp-University partnerships have been growing faster than OPM partnerships for the last few years and are now expanding into local, state and national government partnerships in somewhat similar circumstances.

At the same time as Bootcamp’s started experimenting with University partnerships, the sector expanded in to B2B Digital Skills programs with large employers who again valued cohort-led, instructor-driven training. Large employers were looking for curriculum consistency to help build internal standards and a common language within a capability and in many circumstances needed a delivery partner who would provide the training in-person and online to global workforces in both re-skilling and up-skilling contexts.

Buy, build or partner? Universities have a number of strategic choices for capability development and digital acceleration.

Every one of the world’s 10,000+ Higher Education Institutions is navigating the disruption of the pandemic, the acceleration of digital transformation and the emerging threat of faster and cheaper up-skilling substitutes and alternatives to formal qualifications. Partnerships are one of the three main strategic choices facing Universities as they seek to build new capabilities.

HolonIQ’s Open-Source Higher Education Digital Capability Framework identifies four core capability dimensions along the learner lifecycle: Demand & Discovery (DD), Learning Design (LD), Learner Experience (LX) and Work & Lifelong Learning (WL). Within these are sixteen capability groups or ‘domains’, Universities are working to build out more than 70 discrete capability blocks by either buying in software or services, building capability internally with new processes, people and technology or partnering to share the risks and rewards while harnessing the immediate momentum a partner brings to the table.

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