VIETNAMESE E-LEARNING STORY – THE RAISING OF CUSTOMER SERVICES

After decades of focusing on hardware and the confusing between digitization educational content and online education, E-learning in Vietnam recently recorded some positive changes. In the same tendency like most other industrials, private sectors access the market audacity, daring and drastic by focusing more on the learner.

Ambient Insight’s report Asia Pacific Self-paced E-Learning Market identified Vietnam is one of the fastest growing online education markets in the world with the growth rate of 44.3% in 2013, and the forecast of 44% for the whole period 2013~2018, which is promoted by the huge demand for learning new languages and skills.

Customer services overtaken academic fortress 

The vertigo technology upgrade has made the concept of sharing economy became popular. E-learning providers only focus on how to maximize the number of peer-to-peer connections. Those connections are not only reducing the cost of the organization, helping instructor and learner to save their time, but also contribute to the continuous improvement of the syllabuses, which traditional universities in Vietnam usually update with a period of 3~5 years.

In contrast to the bulk of traditional universities’ dozen hectares campuses, typical E-learning providers’ headquarters have minimum areas and focus more on their platform’s functions. Their businesses are connecting instructors (from Institutions or Individuals) with learners; operate and optimize the learning and teaching process. Vietnamese’s E-learning battlefield is the competition of platform providers and marketers, instead of academia.

Sep 08, 2015, MOET issued Circular no 19 about changing diploma regulations, which repealed the different displays of programs and terminated the discrimination between full-time degree and distance learning, E-learning became more allure for those who wish to pursue a diploma.

Diploma offshoring model

While traditional universities are concentrating on taking care their full-time students in their campus only, E-learning providers (Private firms) have many advantages while managing the current customers as well as expanding their market every month. The regulated indexes like the area of land use, the ratio between teachers/ students, etc., limit universities’ enrollment quota directly, both full-time and E-Learning.

However, there is no upper limit about the enrollment for a higher education E-learning provider. As the firms who have mediating position between universities and learners, those providers can stretch their upper limit by sign an MOU with a new institution and use their quota to admit new students. When a university is not confident in their ability to handle distance-learning courses, they can cede their enrollment quota for E-learning providers and get benefit from issuing diploma under their brands.

TOPICA Edtech group is a typical E-learning provider, which was established eight years ago by a group of lecturers from Hanoi University of Science and Technology, who mortgaged their own houses to started-up the company. Currently, they are in the partnership with National Economic University, Thai Nguyen University, Can Tho University, Hanoi Open University, etc., to promoting, operating E-learning in higher education segment and issue bachelor degrees of Business Administration, Accounting and Business Law.

Late 2015, FUNiX, a new E-learning center of FPT University, the leading ICT University in Vietnam was launched officially. After several deadlocked negotiations with Phoenix University, Mr. Nguyen Thanh Nam, Vice President of FPT University decided to start their own model, based on FPT’s existing advantages of their brand and ICT know-how. FUNiX synthetic learning materials from open sources such as Coursera, EdX, etc., adding Vietnamese subtitle and positioning themselves with the value of Xmen (mentors) – industrial experts who help students to clarify their concerning problems during their learning time.

Same diploma, better services, better choices

During the academic year 2015-2016, MOET also deployed many projects to enhance ICT applications in education such as teacher development, E-learning materials development with Viettel Corporation – the leading telecommunication firm organized by Ministry of Defense. They also encourage the use of open sources tools like Google Classroom, Course Builder or some tool sets of Microsoft Education. Though, those efforts are primarily located in the K-12 segment and have no impact on higher education institutions.

In the context which higher institutions have autonomy but without confidence in E-learning, the number of institutions launched their own programs remain, but the number of institutions who redistribute their enrollment quota is raising stability. This specialization process helps both institution and E-learning provider optimize their productivity by focusing on their own strengths. Consequently, E-learning providers became powerful admission and operation agents for institutions.

The E-learning market with the huge the demand of intellectual learners and diploma seekers is still skyrocketing. E-learning provider themselves do not care about their logo on the diploma, but only care about how to improve the quality of their services, which mean admitting students, operating learning activities and taking care stakeholders.

Ultimately, there are two factors which determine the success of an E-learning provider in Vietnam: The credibility of diploma, and the quality of core services. While the diploma classification in learners’ mind is still in chaos, the E-learning provider with better technology platform will gain the bigger market share.

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