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OpenLearning & Hunter TAFE launch a new model for VET with free-to-learn online platform

Australia’s leading online social learning platform, OpenLearning is partnering with Hunter TAFE, part of TAFE NSW, Australia’s largest vocational education and training (VET) provider, to launch is Australia’s first outcome-based VET platform, delivering world-class online courses for free to students and giving them the choice to pay only if they want to receive a nationally recognised qualification. This truly innovative ‘free to learn, pay to certify’ approach will increase access to VET and improve affordability, with no obligations, upfront payments or student debt.

With recent data revealing that only 38 per cent of students who enrol in VET programs complete their courses, the model enables students to try courses before paying any fees. When a student is ready to be assessed and certified by Hunter TAFE, charges less than 50 per cent of the industry average.

OpenLearning CEO Adam Brimo says this model has the potential to transform the vocational education sector in Australia and demonstrate the viability of a ‘payment on certification’ model for higher education.

“The free to learn, pay to certify model for VET is groundbreaking.” Mr. Brimo says. “The economy is changing and people worldwide are looking to develop new skills. We’re proud to partner with Hunter TAFE to provide an engaging, student centred online learning experience that will prepare students for the jobs of the future. High quality education can afford to be free.”

Hunter TAFE Institute Director, Christine Warrington, said that the pilot project would provide more opportunities for students to undertake vocational education and training.

“TAFE is always looking for ways to make access to quality skills training as easy as possible for students. This project has been designed to provide students with a pathway to developing qualified job ready skills,” Ms Warrington said.

About will launch with two popular VET qualifications: Certificate IV in Leadership and Management and Certificate IV in Business, which are each made up of 12 and 10 short courses (known as units of competency) respectively and focus on developing core personal and employment skills. Students can choose their electives and pay a fee of $125 to be certified and assessed at the end of each short course.

Mr Brimo says this model is the future of education – paying only for outcomes.

“Faced with hundreds of VET providers, it’s nearly impossible for a student to know which courses are right for them,” Mr. Brimo says.

“This has led to low completion rates, uneven outcomes and dissatisfied students. With, there is no barrier to learning and students can quickly decide whether a course is right for them before paying anything. It’s more sustainable and beneficial for students, society and government.

“Our experienced course design team has worked with content provided by respected industry experts Innovation and Business Skills Australia (IBSA) to develop world-class online courses that blend real-world experiences with an online global community. This focus on quality is necessary as courses on the ‘free to learn, pay to certify’ model are public and open to students from around the world so they will be held to a higher standard.

“Our team started OpenLearning because we believe that education must evolve beyond passive content delivery to focus on community, connectedness and student engagement. OpenLearning uses the latest technology and a proven educational philosophy to create compelling courses that engage and inspire students. We are really proud of our partners and our team for working together to make a reality. It’s an exciting day for students across Australia.”

Media Contacts:

OpenLearning CEO Adam Brimo,, +61415094219

Or via Sophie Thomas,, +61499599032

About OpenLearning is a portal within, an online social learning platform. OpenLearning’s unique social and interactive approach to learning has been adopted with great success by leading institutions and government bodies around the world. Founded by Adam Brimo, David Collien and Richard Buckland in Australia in 2012, OpenLearning has had huge international traction thanks to its innovative model of online learning that is focused on engaging students and creating vibrant learning communities. OpenLearning currently supports over 550,000 students across 5,000 courses, with thousands more joining every week. OpenLearning is the national, massive open online course platform for Malaysian education and is being used for K-12 public education system, 26 Malaysian universities and all 34 public Polytechnics. In addition to working with major education institutions, OpenLearning offers thousands of courses run by individual experts – offering high quality online lessons in fields as diverse as entrepreneurship and landscape painting.

About Hunter TAFE

Hunter TAFE is one of Australia’s largest regional vocational education and training providers, supporting and empowering thousands of students in hundreds of courses. Hunter TAFE has a great reputation for industry and business partnerships. These relationships ensure we provide a high quality, job ready workforce to business and industry.


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