OpenSesame is more than just a marketplace for English-language training content - our Global Team is focusing on developing a worldwide network of buyers and sellers who create and share content in any language. Tera Wu, our International Business Development Manager, was recently interviewed for Online-Edu, a Chinese language blog covering educational technology in the Chinese market. This translated version shares our insights on how OpenSesame fits into the global market for elearning.
Online-Edu: OpenSesame already launched the website in seven languages including Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, Russian and Spanish. From a global perspective, where do you see OpenSesame fitting in the elearning industry chain?
OpenSesame: Opensesame has an open trading platform, not only limited to the Chinese mainland area, but also connecting China to a global market. To a certain extent, OpenSesame makes it easier for domestic courses to become international and helps sellers to upgrade to the global level. From another perspective, it also gives Chinese customers access to these top courses in different languages from all over the world. It opens a door for China elearning enterprise applications to the global market. Specifically, OpenSesame offers a chance to cooperate with system platform providers, custom course developers, consultancies,, evaluation suppliers, and content suppliers. For example, for some domestic system platform suppliers, they only have their own courses on their platforms, but if they cooperate with us, their users will have more choices. We can just directly import the OpenSesame courses into their platforms, which will enrich the platforms’ selection of courses and make it easier for customers to find content.
Online-Edu: Comparatively, what kind of advantages and innovations you think OpenSesame has with the current business model?
OpenSesame: The successful business model must have great technology and product as the foundation plus the right strategic judgment. We already have the first step to success, that's the innovative and unique course control technology as our back up. And I believe it will bring a new impact to the market if we get the good timing for promotion.
The biggest advantage of OpenSesame’s business technology is which it changed the course trading unit in essence, but it didn’t make it in the China E-learning market, and the situation for controlling the course plan is the same in other countries. Almost all of the sellers are controlling the course content through the training system, this situation cannot protect the Intellectual Property Rights of the courses unless companies buyout the course or use cross-platform. The OpenSesame platform enables not only ecommerce but keeps the course content on OpenSesame’s servers, protecting sellers’ intellectual property.
Furthermore, OpenSesame offers great flexibility in making purchases, with pay-per-course, pay-per-year or pay-per-use options. These flexible purchasing options create opportunities for us to partner with different kinds of elearning companies and customers. I believe in the near future, after the close cooperation with more enterprises, more and more people will feel the change in the elearning industry caused by OpenSesame’s innovations.
Online-Edu: China’s digital publishing industry is still just beginning. There are big differences in China’s laws and regulations, business culture and the credit system - especially in Intellectual Property Protection. Do you think it will affect OpenSesame’s business in China?
OpenSesame: We did encounter big culture differences when we started working in the China market. The issue of Intellectual Property Right protection is particularly challenging. There are many elearning courses created in China, but without systems in place to protect the intellectual property in the courses, companies were unwilling to move beyond making simple, low cost and fast production courses. Sellers are eager to work with OpenSesame because we offer technology to protect the course seller's intellectual property and also because the process for adding courses for sale in the marketplace is very clear.
OpenSesame also ensures that the courses and platform fit the international standard. We encourage all course creators to create courses with the SCORM standard. This is not only for promoting their product to the whole world, but also to guarantee the courses will work on any LMS. OpenSesame is also a powerful way for customers to browse courses from different sellers. This head-to-head competition inspires course sellers to develop highly interactive and engaging courses to catch buyers’ attention. Through this perfect cycle of innovation and competition, elearning will achieve to higher level. Currently there’s many challenges in the China mainland market, but we believe that high quality courses and OpenSesame’s unique intellectual property technology will enable the growth of elearning worldwide, as learners can find the courses that fit their needs.
Online-Edu: OpenSesame has grown from an idea two years ago to building a strong base of support from both investors and users in the U.S. Do you have lessons learned or insights to share with potential customers and partners in China?
OpenSesame: eLearning can support our efforts to reduce the gap between urban and rural areas and improve the quality of life. This is a target we need to work together for society. OpenSesame represents the implementation of elearning 2.0 - a future where people can study and learn everywhere at anytime. With tools like OpenSesame, people have the ability to make their own learning plan.
For elearning sellers, OpenSesame is not a competitor but a partner. OpenSesame can expose the sellers' courses to a worldwide market looking for convenient access to elearning. We hope OpenSesame will become the iTunes for elearning - helping elearning courses to reach another level.