News & Analysis

OpenLearning and Smart Sparrow partner to offer educators easier course creation through platform integration

- September 28, 2015 2 MIN READ

Sydney EduTech startups OpenLearning and Smart Sparrow have partnered to launch an integration that will allow educators using OpenLearning’s Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) platform to create customisable and personalised courses for students.

The partnership will see Smart Sparrow’s adaptive learning technology, which allows educators to create personalised learning paths for their students, collaborate in real-time, and use pre-made templates to speed up the course creation process, integrated into the OpenLearning platform.

Adam Brimo, co-founder and CEO of OpenLearning, said the startup’s focus on delivering stronger engagement levels for students complements Smart Sparrow’s adaptive learning approach.

“By working together with Smart Sparrow, OpenLearning is offering a seamless learning environment that is designed fully with the student in mind. This provides educational institutions with the option of including Smart Sparrow’s adaptive learning functionality into their courses,” Brimo said.

Smart Sparrow founder Dr Dror Ben-Naim said that the idea for a collaboration came when the two startups learned that a number of educators were already using both platforms.

He said, “We saw an opportunity to introduce our platform through OpenLearning to make it easier for educators to create their courses in the one environment. And students will be better supported and more motivated to succeed via more adaptive and personalised learning as well as the social features offered by OpenLearning.”

The partnership is the latest in a line of big steps for both startups.

After raising $1.7 million in seed funding in February to facilitate its expansion into Asia, OpenLearning opened its new global headquarters in Sydney in June and announced that it had been awarded a tender to deliver Australia’s first Federal Government MOOC, which will be used to train thousands of public servants over the next four years.

The platform is now being used by educational institutions including UNSW, the University of Canberra, and companies around the US, Europe, and Australia, with more than 200,000 students from over 180 countries studying OpenLearning courses. It was also selected as the national MOOC platform for Malaysian universities in September 2014.

Meanwhile Smart Sparrow, which is being used by over 400 universities, opened offices in San Francisco following the raising of a $10 million Series B funding round early last year. The startup was one of seven finalists in the Gates Foundation’s Next ­Generation Courseware Challenge, sharing in $US20 million in ­funding to help improve the ­success of low-income high school graduates in the US.

Image: Smart Sparrow’s Dr Dror Ben-Naim and OpenLearning’s Adam Brimo.