MultiLit to deliver programs online with OpenLearning

Sydney, Australia, December 11, 2020: Education technology company OpenLearning Limited (‘OpenLearning’ or ‘the Company’) is pleased to announce that it has entered an agreement to provide it’s lifelong learning platform for MultiLit Pty Ltd (‘MultiLit’), a leading provider of effective literacy instruction in Australasia. The platform will underpin MultiLit’s future growth and ongoing engagement with teachers and school communities.  

COVID-19 drives digital transformation

While 2020 saw record attendances at MultiLit professional development workshops it also saw another unique challenge – COVID-19. MultiLit had developed a small number of self-paced modules allowing professional development online however, pre COVID-19, more than 95% of attendees at MultiLit workshops were face-to-face. With the advent of COVID-19 this needed to change overnight.

Like many education organisations, MultiLit was required to transition to an online delivery model rapidly. With great content and a highly competent team of trainers MultiLit achieved this, and like many, this was on the Zoom platform. This accommodated the transition however was never going to be a long-term solution.

Beyond the immediate issues of catering for an online world in the wake of COVID-19, MultiLit needed a more technology-enabled approach to support delivery of its professional development programs. This required a solution that was scalable, flexible and robust – a learning platform to support the wide variety of online learning required across MultiLit by its many customers, packaged in a variety of forms. 

A noble idea

MultiLit began with a noble idea – to ensure every child learns to read. One of society’s ‘big problems’ is illiteracy – children who never become effective readers. The impact of this problem is profound. Research shows that literacy skills form part of a person’s ‘human capital’ and are important for economic and social participation. Literacy levels across populations have a major impact on national productivity and wealth. However, for the individual the impact of having poor literacy skills are life-affecting, creating a potential barrier to educational opportunities, limiting access to careers and employment, and eroding a person’s capacity to realise their full potential.

Professor Kevin Wheldall and his colleagues at Macquarie University Special Education Centre recognised this problem. They committed themselves to addressing it by undertaking an ongoing program of research and development into more effective instruction for low-progress readers. From this body of work MultiLit was created in 1995 – the name being an acronym for ‘Making Up Lost Time in Literacy’.

The MultiLit initiative led to the development of programs helping some of the most disadvantaged students in the community. This included inner city children in partnership with the Exodus Foundation and remote indigenous students in Far North Queensland in collaboration with Cape York Partnerships. These projects provided substantial empirical evidence on the most effective approach to literacy instruction. 

MultiLit was spun out of Macquarie University in 2006 with the ambition of becoming the leading provider of effective literacy instruction across Australasia. The research program continued and informed the development of new programs. Each program was developed to solve a slightly different problem in learning to read. 

OpenLearning Managing Director, Cherie Diaz, said: “OpenLearning’s lifelong learning platform has an established track record in enabling quality teacher professional development. We are proud to partner with such a purpose-driven and research-based organisation as MultiLit. Their commitment to supporting teachers in developing positive teaching and learning environments is impressive and we look forward to seeing their first course go live early next year.” 

MultiLit Iain Rothwell, Co-Founder and Director, said: “Over the many years of developing literacy programs and supporting training courses MultiLit has accumulated a vast array of content. The challenge now is to access this rich content, enhance it and distribute it in a structured and secure way to our many thousands of learners. MultiLit’s strategic objective is to build a partnership model with schools and in so doing, create communities of practice centred on MultiLit programs. We seek to ensure teachers can remain supported and connected with MultiLit and each other as we embark on the same mission – to ensure every child learns to read. We are confident that OpenLearning’s industry-leading solution will enable us to achieve our objectives and continue our growth.”