Category: Edtech

How international students can benefit from online learning

“Sometimes learning can be a long and a tedious journey…online learning makes that journey interesting and fun”

CEO of internship & training platform Internshala Sarvesh Agrawal discusses the benefits of online learning over traditional classroom-based learning.

Many students across the globe looking for internship and job opportunities end up getting rejected, and the reason behind the rejection is often of a lack of relevant skills. Employers actively seek to hire students who have skills and knowledge that could be put to the test and be an asset to the company. One possible so to the problem is online learning.
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Getting the Most from Educational Marketing

“We’ve seen a significant rise in ad spend for social media and the like, yet direct mail is still proving successful”

First impressions count when it comes to educational marketing. In this week’s PIE Blog Jason Sullock, marketing manager at UK mailing house Washington Direct Mail discusses the potential for direct mail and how you can get the most from your strategy.

Educational marketing is critical to boosting the profile of your school and encouraging those prospects to visit.

In the digital age, we’ve seen a significant rise in ad spend for social media and the like, yet direct mail is still proving successful. We live in a world where 269 billion emails are sent per day, with the number expected to rise to a staggering 333 billion.

The increasing chance of losing consumers due to email marketing getting lost in the sea of junk mail is growing, and the change is occurring.

“In 2018, the likes of Facebook and even Google opted to incorporate direct mail into their marketing”

Multi-Channel Integration

Nevertheless, we certainly cannot undermine the success rate for online advertising. However, place the two communication methods together and you have a force that is, quite literally, unstoppable. The sheer number of people you can target is astonishing, and multi-channel integration has also proven its success rate, lifting response rates by an impressive 118%.
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How will English language exams change in the next five years?

“As specific IELTS and Trinity exams are linked to visa applications it is unlikely a fully online provision will be deemed secure enough in the next five years. However, this doesn’t mean that for other purposes, English Language provision and exams will change significantly.”

With online English language courses gaining in popularity, Pat Moores, director and co-founder of UK Education Guide, looks at whether English tests will increasingly be offered online. Specific exams are linked to visa applications, but does that mean provisions cannot change significantly for other purposes?

The appetite for learning English shows no signs of slowing up. According to latest figures from the British Council there are over 1 billion people currently learning English worldwide.

There is also deepening interest in online delivery of English language courses. For example in May 2015, FutureLearn launched its free course ‘Understanding IELTS: Techniques for English Language tests’.

Over 2 million learners have now signed up for the IELTS course across multiple runs.

But what is the broader picture?

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Five tips for agents looking to expand into the UK

“Make sure that you deliver on your promise. Reputation can be your best asset, or your Achilles heel”

The British Council recognises the usefulness of education agents and consultants, and as well as compiling a database of trustworthy agents for students’ use, it trains agents on best practice and how to operate in the UK. A new tool is now running online to guide professionals through the UK education landscape. 

The Study UK: a Guide for Education Agents, Advisors and Counsellors MOOC, currently open for registration, is free and designed for people interested in starting out in the sector or consolidating their current skills.

Helen Obaje has worked with the British Council for ten years and specialises in the training of agents in the international education sector. She is the designer of a new online course for agents, advisors and counsellors launched by the British Council.

Here are Helen’s top five tips for agents thinking of expanding their business in the UK: 

1.         Keep up to date

Education is not static, nor is it consistent across the UK with different education systems in the country’s different nations. The best agents are those who are consistently in touch with the changes within the areas they operate.

There are a variety of resources from different bodies that can help you keep on top of new regulations and new products: the UK Council for International Student Affairs, StudyUK:Discover You and visa and immigration information from UKVI are among them.

Be sure to stay on top of changes within the institutions that you represent, don’t just assume that because they are your client that you know them inside out. Take advantage of all the support and training that UK institutions provide and keep an eye out for fam trips. These are a great opportunity to get information on the ground so take advantage whenever possible.

2.         Relationships

So much of this job relies on relationships: the ones you have with students, their families and institutions. You need to think long term about what is it that you can do to help build and develop your relationship with the institution you are working with. 

Think about how regularly you keep in touch with people and by what means. There is no replacing quality face to face time, but equally you cannot be everywhere at once, so a balance needs to be struck.

3.         Do you fit?

We are all clear on the importance of matching the student to the right institution and course, but this also applies to agencies. Why should an institution work with you and what do you bring to the table? You need to be able to help the institution meet its goals and ensure that students are happy and successful. A large part of this involves making sure that you and what you offer are properly suited to the organisations with which you are working. Losing track of this is of no benefit to you or your clients. 

4.         Reputation

Make sure that you deliver on what you promise. Your reputation can be your best asset or your Achilles heel. Word gets around the industry swiftly and it is far easier and quicker to lose a good reputation than to rebuild one. Make sure you stay realistic in what you can achieve and never feel pressured into making plans or promising figures that may seem impressive but will never be reached.

5.         Believe in the UK

It is the home of the English language with a reputation for academic excellence and cultural diversity, but don’t just take our word for it. Students are the proof of the quality of a UK education. UUK International reports that satisfaction rates in their 2015/2016 cohort were 91 per cent for undergrads and 90 per cent for postgrads. This is higher than the satisfaction ratings for the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, as well as major European countries.

And on top of the quality of education there are plenty of other factors drawing people to study here such as the culture, society history and infrastructure.

Beyond the classroom walls: Reimagining the education paradigm

“While technology is not the answer to all challenges, it certainly is one solution”

The need to deliver education online is growing in popularity around the world, and this growth is not set to slow down anytime soon, writes Stéphanie Durand, ‎Head of Enterprise, EMEA at Coursera.

Technology is undoubtedly playing a vital role in the attitude shift toward breaking down traditional barriers of access. This means learning is no longer solely available to a reduced group of people. Opportunities for convenience, cost-effectiveness, and personal enrichment are just some of the variables that have contributed to online learning’s monumental growth.

Education for all – a case in point

Education is no longer off limits to anyone. Take Hadi Althib, one of Coursera’s learners, who fled his home country of Syria to escape military service in 2016.

“Online courses are boundless”

Hadi, now 23 years old, arrived in Turkey with dreams of starting a new life. He had no possessions and no plan. He settled near the Syrian border and focused on finding work and a place to live. Nearly 18 months after his arrival, like thousands of refugees across the world, Hadi turned to the internet for help and started to complete online courses to push himself back into education.

In the midst of conflict and instability, harnessing technology to reach disadvantaged communities and bridge gaps in traditional education systems can pave the way for refugees or anyone seeking to rebuild their lives and communities. Stories such as Hadi’s are evidence that this is working.

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MOOCs: Still Big News for International Learners

“We shouldn’t underestimate how important MOOCs can still be for global students”

 

Clarissa Shen, vice president of Udacity, recently declared MOOCs dead, “a failed product,” sparking yet another round of commentary in the blogosphere. While it is true that MOOCs have neither saved nor destroyed higher education as we know it (as was predicted early on), they are far from dead, writes Laurie Pickard, author of “Don’t pay for your MBA” and nopaymba.com.

The number of online courses continues to grow, and the number of students registering for and completing them continues to tick upward. More than 23 million people registered for a MOOC in 2016. 2017’s numbers haven’t yet been published, but data from the MOOC search engine Class Central suggests that more than 80 million people have taken at least one MOOC. Importantly, people around the world are still learning that MOOCs exist. For these new learners, MOOCs aren’t old news. They are still exciting, new, and full of potential.

I still remember my own excitement when I first learned that top-tier universities were offering free versions of their classes. I felt I needed a business education to further my career, but I wasn’t interested in getting into debt to fund an MBA.

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Documentation in times of crisis

“If documents are destroyed, what options does a student have? What happens when the infrastructure is unstable? If records are held online, but there’s no internet available, how is that information obtained?”

In the event of war, economic hardship or natural disasters, students are not always able to provide the standard educational documents, writes research & knowledge management evaluator at Educational Credential Evaluators Melissa Ganiere. So what can be done in times of turmoil to ensure that student qualifications are accessible?

At ECE, we recommend that institutions try to be flexible when dealing with exceptional cases. However, we understand that schools need to adhere to standards while simultaneously keeping the needs and best interests of the student in mind.

The final decision regarding what documents are acceptable is up to your institution. Some best practices have been adopted for documentation issues you might encounter during a crisis.  These may help you gain flexibility without damaging your credibility.

Our top five guidelines for dealing with unusual situations are:

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Why MOOCs and executives don’t mix

“Expecting executive learners to stay the (online) course based on a cobbled together jumble of videos, articles and chat rooms is farfetched”

Paul Hunter, director of IMD’s Corporate Learning Network, argues that MOOCs aren’t best suited to executives, and offers some tips about making virtual learning more appealing.

After the scurry of educational providers scrambling to be part of MOOC mania, the hype has all but dissipated, primarily due to low traction rates and lackluster results.

Undoubtedly, MOOCs have their place for disciplined and curious individuals with an iron will, available time and a natural predisposition to persevere. However, for time-stretched executives juggling high-pressure professional objectives and increasingly scarce personal time, MOOCs have not provided the hoped for panacea.
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Paul Hunter is the Director of IMD’s Corporate Learning Network. He is also Vice-Chair of ELIG (European Learning Industry Group), and a steering committee member of EFMD’s CLIP (Corporate Learning Improvement Process).