Category: Edtech

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).