“We are grateful for the energetic cooperation of UKTI in advising us on setting up the Open University office in Japan”
Toru Kishida, Founder and CSO of NetLearning, Inc.
The Open University was a pioneer in providing learning opportunities to a far wider sector of the population. NetLearning Inc. has allied itself with the British institution to take that concept further and to a vast new audience.
Founded by Toru Kishida 16 years ago, NetLearning provides integrative learning solutions for the development of human resources through e-learning. The firm’s services primarily target domestic users but also appeal to students overseas as the company develops new programmes to support corporate training and universities. To date, the company’s original learning management system has been used by approximately 24 million students and 4,000 organisations.
NetLearning has set up ongoing training programmes with some of the biggest corporate names in Japan, including Nissan, Cannon, Shiseido and Microsoft. Kishida is particularly proud of his company’s collaboration with the Open University on its globally acclaimed MBA programme.
“I firmly believe in the potential of e-learning and that it can produce innovative education programmes,” he said. “We established NetLearning in 1998, as e-learning was just dawning on a Japanese audience, but our vision proved to be correct and e-learning has undergone a rapid and dynamic growth.”
The office for the Open University MBA was set up three years ago, with the specific aim of meeting the growing need for global human resources development in Japan.
“I was attracted to the idea of providing the first-and only-domestic, net-based, triple-accredited, world-quality MBA programme for working people, with a practical content that could be applied to real business situations,” Kishida said. Enrolment continues to grow steadily and the course is expected to have approximately 300 students in the next three years.
“E-leaning and Internet-based education have developed its own unique business current’” Kishida believes. “NetLearning has blazed a trail for others to follow. We have employed cloud technology since we started our business and 17 percent of our employees are non-Japanese, so we are organisationally prepared to cater to international business needs.”
The company is constantly evolving its products and services, particularly important given the emergence of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC), and is a core member of the Japan’s MOOC organisation, which was created in November 2013.
Kishida is convinced that online learning will become increasingly popular, with the Open University MBA programme a key part of that.
“I am grateful to the UKTI for connecting me to the dean of the Open University Business School,” Kishida said. “Since our first encounter, when a professor from the school visited our booth during one of the large e-learning exhibitions in Tokyo, we have become business partners and NetLearning has helped with the dissemination and promotion of the Open University’s MBA programme. “We are grateful for the energetic cooperation of the UKTI in advising us on setting up the Open University office in Japan.”