The Open University

RedEye Optimisation’s research drives The Open University’s service design for a changing market


The Challenge

As part of a move to further understand and develop the online study experience, The Open University’s (OU) Online Student Experience Team recognised a need to develop a new set of core student personas that would remain relevant for a period of at least five years. The personas needed to present a comprehensive picture of people who are currently studying with the OU, people who are thinking about studying with the OU, and people who are currently studying with other online learning providers. This would include their expectations of the learning experience, their study behaviour, and how those translate into their key study drivers and needs. 

The OU selected RedEye Optimisation (REO) to help them deliver this project, because their proposed approach was designed to not only deliver the personas, but also to provide a detailed report and rich set of insights into the student experience. 

The Solution

  • Current data and insights were reviewed    
  • Meetings with the OU team were held to dig deeper
  • Group research with students was carried out 
  • A comprehensive findings report was created 
  • The OU personas were finalised
Group study session

The Results

The breadth and richness of the insights delivered by REO generated interest across the OU, enabling the Online Student Experience Team to roll-out an engagement programme that included:

  • A series of briefing workshops across the OU to senior and interested staff.
  • Formal launch of both the findings and insights report and the set of personas

The team at the OU reported that as the programme was rolled out, they received briefing and workshop requests from an increasingly broad range of OU units who clearly acknowledged the value of this research.  

Finally, the results achieved helped further fuel the OU’s drive towards a stronger and more embedded culture of user-centred development.

“RedEye have demonstrated the power of their approach to deliver valuable insights into the experience and need of our own students, and across the wider online learning marketplace. Their findings will help to future-proof our ongoing development.”  

Senior Product Development Manager, The Open University