The e-Learning business using the magic of Hollywood to fast-track growth

Larissa Ham

It hasn’t traditionally been a sexy industry – at least not until now – but one of Australia’s oldest e-learning businesses hopes its partnership with a Hollywood powerhouse will help launch it into the big time.

Two years ago, the Brisbane-based small business, which this month rebranded from The Cyber Institute to The e-Learning Company, received a major boost when it partnered with global content studio the Cutting Edge Group.

The studio, also Brisbane-based, has been involved in blockbusters including The Great Gatsby, Pirates of the Caribbean and Australia, and in post-production for TV shows such as Big Brother.

The e-Learning Company’s Toby Hewitt says the partnership is already proving a game-changer for the 15-year-old business, which expects its annual turnover to double from $3 million last year to $6 million by the end of 2017.

Previously, the business has created online learning packages for sectors such as hospitality, mining, government and health organisations. The resource sector proved a major boon, until it began to fade; at one point the business lost $1 million in work overnight.

“It’s only now that we’re starting to see people realise the folly of their attempts at e-learning."

Hewitt says the partnership with Cutting Edge has opened up a raft of networks, along with talented creative professionals such as illustrators and animators.

E-learning, traditionally used by large corporations seeking compliance, has been carried out poorly in the past by many firms, says Hewitt. In fact he says it’s “generally one of the most soul-destroying experiences people will have at work”.

“It’s only now that we’re starting to see people realise the folly of their attempts at e-learning. A lot of our customers have tried and failed and they come to us.”

Cutting Edge now owns 70 per cent of The e-Learning Company. The Australian Institute of Management, which originally established the e-learning business to transfer its own coursework online, owns the remainder.

Cutting Edge director Matt Lawson says it’s an unprecedented partnership.

He says The e-Learning Company is now the “only e-learning business to sit within a creative production company who work alongside Hollywood studios and have access to animators, creative directors, editing suites and audio suites”.

With an eye to markets such as the US and Japan down the track, The e-Learning Company’s new general manager Jason Aspinall says it’s all about staying ahead of the curve in a rapidly changing industry.

“I think if we don’t innovate we become irrelevant pretty quickly in this space.”

Larissa Ham

Larissa Ham is a Melbourne-based freelancer. She write for publications including The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald, The New Daily and Forge magazine, and also shares money saving tips at Hey, Little Spender!

Image: Krzysztof Belczynski, Flickr Creative Commons License

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