Choosing the right mode of education is an important issue for learners today, as, today, there are many alternatives to the mainstream education system. Modern life does not always cope with the traditional systems. In education this becomes truly prominent. The days are gone when people had so ample time to spare for spending years in schools and universities to acquire knowledge. Today, people need a learning system that enables them learn most efficiently through the most flexible system possible.
Addressing the changing expectations of people in their learning process, different styles and processes of distance education have been evolved in course of time, among which online distance education is the latest one. Online learning allows one to enjoy the most convenient mode of education that fits around every one’s life. It is really a fantastic model education could ever be explored through. But, there are some attitudes found absolutely essential to get maximum benefits from one’s studying through accredited online school.
Discipline of Studying
While online school allows one to enjoy the freedom from note-taking, it certainly involves lots of online learning materials and lectures to be attended punctually by the learners. Since, online learning provides enormous flexibility of studying, students must not bunk their online classrooms in order to keep them attuned with learning developments.
In online learning model students are expected to demonstrate standard skills of handling internet tools. One must have sufficient computer proficiency to download the required software time to time to make diverse online process going smoothly.
Well-considered Course Selection
Before taking up an online course one should thoroughly meditate on the skills he is going to get from that, and if his targeted skill-generation may get fulfilled from pursuing that course. One should always enquire thoroughly over variety of courses available for him, and select the best one that he finds best suiting his requirements.
When rising cost of higher education has become a global issue, one should always move safely in selecting his online course. There are difference in fees-structure for a same course offered by different universities and course providers. One should make a thorough survey of these diverse costs and take his decision discreetly.
Online classes, though, provide flexibility of studying as per learners own convenience of time, it does not at all mean that students do not have any responsibility of studying on their own. Online learning can be successful only by the means of self-motivation. One should make a regular study on his own initiative, and should not drag his feet on his tasks for tomorrow. A punctual initiative on studying only can result in successful achievement of his desired qualification in easy and convenient way.
Maintenance of Devices
Pursuing an online course always require minute eye on the tools and devices needed for his smooth course of learning. He should take care of his tablet or laptop regularly. He can always contact an expert professional for computer maintenance in regular interval.
Pursuing a course from an accredited online school can be really a comfortable affair which in turn may prove to be one’s thorough developments in experience. Only with following some simple yet valuable measures one can make his learning truly worthwhile.
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Why corporate learning is fast coming up as the most acceptable fashion of education is quite evident in its all-encompassing model. The essence of this learning model involves responsible participation from every individual, which in turn contributes to a cumulative group work. But, the better part is that every individual learner also play vital role to see that the other learners of his/her group are learning equally well. This co-operative effort of education was first developed in 90s, with the spirit that combined effort should be such that either all members of a group should succeed or fail. There is no middle way.
There are mainly three categories of corporate learning methods: formal, informal and cooperative, each of which is based on different styles of learning. Whatever it is, corporate learning follows five fundamental concepts, each distinguished by five key elements: face-to-face interaction, positive interdependence, group processing, accountability and interpersonal skills. The perfect design of corporate learning must include all these five factors, and incorporate various assignments to generate cumulative effort to share information for the sake of an entire group’s success.
Let’s see how these five major elements of cooperative learning play their roles:-
Face-to-face Interaction: In this process, the chief emphasis lays on oral discussion that instructors design to bring out for exchanging of ideas and group dynamics to make collaborative efforts in learning. This sort of process can successfully take place via classroom message box like Blackboard or pre-scheduled online chats. The ultimate aim of this sort of method is to build inter-dependence on one another for success.
Positive Interdependence: This element shows that the each distinct role assigned to individual member is initiated through mutual interdependence of the group members. The project idea is shared and participated by all the group members to the satisfactory outcome.
Group Processing: In this phase, participants focus on the individual as well as collective outcome in respect of executed and unfinished work. Analysis of helpful and unhelpful measures is identified here through the comprehensive capacity of the participants. And, based on the feedback of them positive momentum for future project is planned.
Accountability: Accountability both in respect of individual and group-work is judged in cooperative learning. Educators design the processes in such way which may be on expected or random times to see the eagerness of participation from the group members. There is Formative assessment to measure the ongoing progress and participations from each and every member; and, Summative assessment that calculates particularly individual participation, instead of the whole group, after completion of the project.
Interpersonal Skills: Interpersonal skills are kind of social skills that students are often need to be taught. Social nuances like leadership, confidence, good communication, trust, management skills are aspects that get focused through the projects. In course of group work, students are expected to identify their weaknesses and overcome them thoroughly.
Corporate learning is, thus, making a whole new concept of education where learning becomes a spontaneous development, instead of monotonous process. Especially, in business management studies this model of learning has proved to be fetching unbelievably positive outcome.
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If some of the noted educationists are to be believed, going to top ranked colleges and universities alone is not enough to fetch you a coveted job profile. It is a wake-up call for all the students, teachers and parents too. It is of little relevance at the workplace whether you have top grades or have attended the elite colleges, if you possess the required skills, you will be considered as a suitable candidate for the job.
Is creativity more precious than formal education?
It may seem surprising to you but the global leaders in corporate sector today belong to same school of thought: “learning-by-making rules;” “Imagination is more important than knowledge;” and “learning to learn is more important than memorizing information.”
Do not get this thought or the current hiring practices at the biggest companies wrong. Grades are important, as they reflect your expertise in the skills required by the organizations and companies today. Obtaining high grades indicates your natural talent or ability to learn certain skills that may not be acquired naturally.
However, one has to become the master of the basic skills in order to keep up at today’s workplace. It does not matter whether you have acquired them in K12, college, or learned while on the job, you must hone your basic skills to rub your shoulders with the best in business.
Job seekers must have new knowledge and skills
Educationists and business leaders believe that job seekers must have new knowledge and skills, such as inventive thinking, fluent digital participation, coding and making digital stuff, digital communication, digital literacy, in order to get into almost in all fields like business, government, entertainment, health and education.
Most leading companies consider the old basic skills as insufficient, so candidates must focus on learning the new basic skills. It means they should have the ability to ask big questions, see connections, think originally and follow leads, draw parallels, and think creatively, objectively and collaboratively. One should know that innovation and learning skills are the key to success for big organisations.
The articulation of soft skills of innovation, teamwork, leadership, humility, and ownership is quite strong in the leading companies. They may be considered as soft skills but constitute an essential combination to the innovation. Seldom you see individual breakthroughs leading to innovation, but revolve around the collaborative group work that demands personal adaptability.
Anyone with an experience of working in R&D and tech organisation in academia and industry knows that working in teams is tough, as they are unsure of the role they might be given the next day. According to some business leaders, to know when and how to present yourself, when and how to hold back, and when and how to implement influence and teach or direct are the skills that differentiate emergent leadership from the traditional leadership.
It is known fact that successful innovation can only be achieved through learning, imagination, and by exact data, for which one absolutely requires humility. Hence, it is essential to create the learning environment, where people can inspire their brain though imaginative thinking, brainstorming, researching and innovative ideas.
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In Africa, there was a time when obtaining quality education was considered to be a challenge owing to a lot of reasons. Poor infrastructure, weak economy and ongoing political disturbances were three major reasons that deprived a lot of students from attaining their career goals. Things changed over time and plenty of technological developments gradually started bringing modifications in the education system.
ODel – A promise to Africa
The introduction of ODeL (Open, distance and e-learning) in Africa is one of those incredible innovations that has eliminated the chances of not only unemployment but also gross inequalities in Africa. Moreover, the emerging trends of higher education from the global viewpoint have actually stood responsible for realising the importance of initiating ODeL in Africa. The Massive Open Online Courses were another noteworthy contribution on behalf of the digital education providers that brought a new meaning to online learners living in remote corners.
The year was 2008 when MOOCs attained global recognition and even questioned the traditional procedures of obtaining education. Although the process of delivering courses through web was first initiated a couple of decades back, the consequences were actually realised and had a global impact in the 21st century only.
African post-secondary education standards in question
Despite the increasing popularity of studying courses online, many questions were raised:
- Will schools, colleges and universities in Africa will be able to afford the cost of introducing new learning technologies?
- Will post-secondary institutions be able to cope with the prevalent challenges?
- Are higher education institutions in the developed nations differ a lot in comparison to those located in the developing nations?
Well, experts say that it is not easy for institutions in the developing countries to cope with institutions in the developed ones. In Africa, for instance, what is important is the crucial need to enhance access to diverse opportunities, especially for students pursuing postsecondary education.
More developments are still to be made
Although African countries like Nigeria has made massive developments in digital education by bringing over 4 million internet users over a short time span, the rest of the nations need to gear up. However, it’s true that there have been recent developments in post-secondary education that has eliminated a lot of misconceptions in regard to distance learning and electronic learning.
Despite, this is not all that speaks about distance learning. Since Africa has been promised to enjoy the benefits of ODeL, some serious issues still need to be rectified as soon as possible. For instance:
- Assuring the quality of study materials
- Ensuring accreditation for online learners
- Checking credit transfers
- Making employers recognise the importance of awards
- Dealing issues in regard to cross-border provision
Well, reality says that distance learning has a lot of advantages. However, it’s also true that in order to realise the advantages associated with distance learning, necessary modifications must be made. Although a huge number of new age learners are now keen to learn online in Africa, they must also be promised considerable academic support by their respective online learning institutions. So, a quality check is extremely crucial which will only be able to solve societal crises and at the same time fulfil career objectives of individuals living in remote corners.
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Education has always been a matter of concern in developing nations, but with technology, I can see the inadequacy being addressed. In no way do I believe that education is backward in these countries but resources are definitely lacking. So, with just a little help from technological giants, developing nations can surely meet the necessities for developing nations. As an educator myself, I keep looking in the news for new innovations that can really help the youth receive good quality education. The other day, I came across a piece of news that really made me happy.
The initiative and its aim
In association with the Kenya Private Schools Alliance and Intel Corporation East Africa, Microsoft has declared that they will launch the Youth Device Program will also make available educational applications, reasonably priced devices, reasonable data plans, online services, smart financing, etc. to learning institutions in Kenya.
This is reportedly part of the Youth Initiative by Microsoft 4Afrika. This initiative was started earlier this year which aimed to provide fellowships, scholarships and internships to the youth of Africa. Also, this Youth Device Program will help other countries in Africa like, Nigeria, South Africa and Egypt soon after it has been initiated in Kenya. The programme aspires to reach out to the youth of Africa with advanced skills and also help educators and students of African countries understand and apply digital advancements.
What is the new programme all about?
As a part of the programme, a variety of Intel and Microsoft services and devices will be made available in various form factors. Each of these will be loaded with applications pertaining to education like the complete Office 365 suite, Explore & Learn from Intel and Skype. The devices which will be based on architecture by Intel will be constructed for education purposes. These devices will be rugged and student-friendly, dust and water resistant, and will encourage learning anywhere, anytime.
More about these devices
These education devices will be distributed on a local basis by Mitsumi Distribution and will be made available from various manufacturers. Intel and Microsoft will also aim to provide training for the teachers, via Microsoft’s Teach with Technology course and the Intel Teach curriculum, on the ICT integration. They aim not only to provide reasonable devices that are equipped with online services and educational applications but also to provide experiences that are loved by educators and students, and support and training that is required for the education ecosystem.
Various customised finance option will also be made available to ease out the purchases made. Tailor-made and convenient data plans will also be offered to help the youth and educators avail these services and devices with ease.
Some of the applications that will be on offer are:
- Educational games
- Khan Academy suite
- Digital books
- Intel Explore & Learn
- Office 365 including PowerPoint, Word, Explore
- Skype in the classroom
On reading this piece of news I was very glad that disadvantaged students are being addressed on the digital platform to improve the education system. As an educator, I couldn’t be happier on these advancements.
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If a nation runs a bad education system for lack of monetary support or poor teachers, students there would never expect to build prospective futures. A similar scenario has been witnessed in Nigeria where about 10.5 million students have been found to be staying out of school and more than 50% of the adults are simply leading lives like illiterates. The entire scenario has therefore been so dreadful that no other country has gathered such data over the years.
Gordon Brown, the UN Special Envoy for Global Education, attended an education summit to discuss this entire matter with the state governors, the education commissioners from all 36 states and the president, Goodluck Jonathan. Having partnered with Global Business Coalition for Education, USAID, the Global Partnership for Education and Qatar’s Educate a Child, the UN Special Envoy and the policy makers gathered together to discuss that they would be providing financial support with which:
- new schools could be made
- new teachers would be trained
- new technologies would be implemented
It was last July when the UN Special Envoy took a similar trip to Pakistan. However, the UNESCO Institute for Statistics created a policy paper recently that showed Nigeria to be scoring low in almost every aspect in comparison to Pakistan. The reports also showed:
- 1 out of 6 children in Nigeria belongs to the list of the world’s out-of-school children
- Between the year 2000 and 2010, 3.6 million Nigerian students in addition have been reported to be out of school
The dual objective of the education summit will therefore be to:
- Take all those children back to school
- Ensure that it keeps continuing on a regular basis
Proposal would be made on behalf of President Goodluck Jonathan for the new 2014 census. The intention of this proposal would be to analyse how one is progressing academically. The framing of the policies will depend on the assessment of who will be left behind and who will be called into the school.
The ‘access’ factor has not only stood responsible for Nigeria’s education crisis but the ‘quality’ factor has also stood equally answerable. What has been rather found is that the huge number of students and working professionals who are coming out with minimal literacy skills are instead urging the government to bring changes in the country’s education.
As per reports from the International Day of Literacy last week, it was found:
- About 774 million students have been found incapable to read or write
- Out of them, 2/3rds are women
- Out of all countries, Nigeria was found to be suffering the most
Well, where there is bad news all around Nigeria, the incredible news that can now bring a sigh of relief among the new age learners there is the rapid initiation of distance learning technologies. Instead, experts are considering it to be a future resolution that would bring positive developments in Nigeria’s education system.
Amongst the other nations in Africa, Nigeria has emerged to be the only one with the highest population of internet users, and this has rather acted as an inspiration for the students here who have always wanted to pursue online distance learning programmes. In fact, this can give all those homeless students a chance to reconstruct their careers with perfection and therefore help Nigeria undergo massive improvements in their education system.