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Monday, November 05, 2012

Online learning pioneer offers new student model

Photo: Mark Williamson
"IN this week's SME Focus, an entrepreneur specialising in online learning highlights the kind of challenges companies can face when dealing with some potential customers overseas and banks in the UK." summarizes Mark Williamson.

Photo: Herald Scotland

Name: Michael Stewart.
Age: 56.

What is your business called?
The Interactive Design Institute (IDI).
Where is it based? Eskmills, Musselburgh.

What does it produce, what services does it offer?
As a collaborative partner of the University of Hertfordshire, The Interactive Design Institute provides degree level, design-based courses entirely online. We also offer a range of City & Guilds courses and a Foundation course for those who are aiming to undertake a university degree in the future.

To whom does it sell?
We currently have students from 44 countries, with people of all ages and at all stages of their careers, from recent school leavers to graduates. Our students tend to be highly motivated individuals who want to take control of their education by deciding how, when and where they study. This year 95% have graduated with honours. A UK degree is recognised across the world, and attracts huge diversity of students to our website.

What is its turnover?
This year it was £1.5 million.

How many employees?
We have 15 staff in our main office with 20 tutors and six course developers working remotely across the UK.

When was it formed?
It was formed in 2004 as the Studio Art School, and rebranded as The Interactive Design Institute in 2008.

Why did you take the plunge?
It was becoming obvious to us that the provision of tertiary education had to change to address the changing needs and demands of consumers. The traditional model involving face-to-face delivery in large buildings with an equally large number of staff that require infrastructure to support them needed radical review. I'd done some work on resourced based learning as part of my job and saw the emerging technologies as an ideal means of providing a high quality educational experience at a fraction of the cost. Fortunately, I was working with three like-minded people and together we resigned our posts and started the company. The structure and remit was planned by pinning pieces of paper to an A3 cork board.
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Source: Herald Scotland