With the evolution of technology leading to information being accessible from multiple devices, regardless of location or time, it has fostered the expectation for everything to be instantly available. The internet has become an integral part of everyday life, from influencing our television viewing habits to the way that we order takeaways. The increased speed of accessing information has altered the attention span of future generations, creating a need for instant gratification. This societal expectancy is also something that has influenced the landscape of education. Higher education institutions are having to alter the way that courses are taught in order to ensure that they are always providing content that is catering to this need, whilst remaining both engaging and of high-quality. Whilst attending a physical class will most likely remain permanent, students are now requiring education itself to be more flexible and accessible.
Massive Open Online Courses
The educational landscape is something that must change with the evolution of society in order to continue to positively impact students and their learning. There has been an increase in shorter online courses that although are not full university degrees, still provide enough content to educate students on certain areas or skills. For example, there has been an increase in MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) which not only require less of a commitment than an online degree but can also be taken by anyone at any stage of their career. These courses have become more mainstream because whilst they are still educational and globally recognised, they also provide individuals with the required knowledge. As society becomes more reliant on the internet for information, MOOCs are a way to provide an education whilst catering to this new way of consuming information, making it possible for employees to broaden their understanding of niche areas without taking time off from their jobs.
These shorter courses allow for career progression and provide candidates with a competitive edge by demonstrating that an individual is committed to self-growth. Whilst a majority of candidates may possesses similar qualifications and experience, enrolling in a short online course is an advantage due to the candidate continually seeking knowledge and skills which will inevitably impact the workplace.
These courses can also be beneficial for ever-changing industries such as tax or cyber-security where it would make sense for employees to enrol in a short online course than a university degree due to the continual shift. Education is now considering working professionals as a part of their target audience, therefore ensuring that the learning experience will have a positive socio-economic impact.
Shorter courses are also more likely to be completed due to the concision of the content feeling more attainable. As users become more digital, it is integral for education to evolve and ensure that content is being engaged with. Education is no longer just a means of gaining qualification but a learning experience which can act as a catalyst for career progression and improving the workplace. Therefore, as more employers continue to invest in enrolling their workforce on these courses, education will continue to change accordingly in order to cater to this audience.
Whilst the provided product or service is integral to any organisation’s success, it is the employees that make up the company and therefore contribute to accomplishing this success. The overall work culture and role of individual employees is often overlooked in larger organisations due to the high volume of staff, however it still remains crucial for a more effective and higher quality service. It is important for both employees and organisations to recognise and understand how they are able to mutually work together to cultivate a more positive work culture in order to ensure continual progression.
Why is a BA in business required?
Employees with a Business BA often find that they have an advantage over their colleagues due to a more in-depth understanding of their role in the overall organisation and better awareness of the different areas within business. Through learning about the hierarchical system and the way in which departments work together to drive the organisation forward, employees will be more familiar with the intricacies of business and therefore find their own work more purposeful.
A BA in Business is designed to emphasise and focus on professional development, therefore ensuring that graduates are gaining the real-life skills to implement in the workplace. Having these practical skills and knowledge helps to shape graduates into more valuable employees because their deeper understanding will allow them to perform activities that may fall outside of their role. They will also be able to use the goals of the business as a motivating factor and be aware of how to make improvements within the organisation.
A background in business will also help graduates to quickly make the transition between education and entering the workplace due to already possessing the practical skills required in the role, whilst also being aware of what is expected of them.
What is business culture?
Business culture is often defined as the inner-style of the way that a company operates, almost an identity encompassing their overall values and beliefs as an organisation.
The work culture in an organisation is directly correlated with the work ethic of employees and should therefore be prioritised. For example, if employees are unhappy or being treated poorly by management in the workplace, they are more likely to only put in minimal effort without any concern about its outcome on the organisation. However, with a more positive work culture, employees are more likely to go the extra mile to ensure that everything is running efficiently, even performing duties outside of their own role. They will prioritise the needs of the organisation and have the desire to go above and beyond to ensure success.
Employees possess the skills and expertise to drive an organisation forward and it is therefore crucial for organisations to recognise that the business culture within the workplace should constantly be re-evaluated. Employees with a Business BA will be more likely to contribute to assisting the organisation in improving their overall work environment and attempt to embed practices of a healthier work culture. With a greater understanding of what is required for the organisation to succeed, their expertise can be invaluable.
What are the recommendations for businesses to improve?
Organisations must commit to evaluating their work culture and make improvements accordingly. This practice should be an ongoing process because it can significantly impact the quality of service provided. By making the following changes, businesses will be able to cultivate a more positive work culture:
Embed values – The value and goals of an organisation should be reiterated in order for employees to understand the objectives of the business, ultimately allowing it to inform their behaviour. If an employee is not familiar with the values of the organisation that they are working for, it not only leads to confusion but will also make their own work purposeless and hinder their work ethic. Company values need to be embedded within employees and should always be given precedence.
Accountability – Roles and responsibilities should be clearly assigned within an organisation to ensure that employees understand their own duties. This will ensure that the work is evenly distributed amongst employees to eliminate antipathy.
Bridge the gap between management and employee – There is often a lack of communication between senior management and employees which can contribute to a number of issues. Managers must work together with employees to be more open, whilst improving communication between both parties. Many organisations often have an ‘us’ and ‘them’ mentality which not only breeds resentment but prevents employees from working together with management. Therefore, better communication and more lucidity can help to reduce this and improve the overall work culture.
More incentives – It is human nature to desire recognition and praise for working hard and businesses must therefore implement a reward system to ensure that employees are being commended for their efforts. There should be clear incentives to motivate employees because it can otherwise result in a weaker performance and therefore influence the overall business.
Creating a healthier work environment will not only drive organisations to a more successful future but will also increase their overall economic value and it should therefore be prioritised by every business.
Five trends that students might see in online education in 2017
Flexibility is often the most appealing factor of online learning, however it also makes education available to a wider audience. With more students of all ages enrolling on an online degree, technology has changed the face of education. Traditional classes have always been presented and targeted at a particular age group, whereas online classes are more inclusive and therefore available to the public, regardless of their age or other commitments.
Learning itself is continually evolving due to the ever-changing way in which technology develops and alters the way we access and consume information. Therefore, 2017 will see many trends in online education to cater to its audience.
More credentials – There has been an increase in the number of working professionals that are now pursuing an online degree from university, due to wanting to develop and broaden their knowledge or skillset. Therefore, institutions are recognising this and are using it to change and adapt their content and method of teaching. Instead of an online university degree, more institutions will offer online certifications and credentials which employers will use to train staff. Employees will be able to enrol in order to increase their qualifications and improve their skillset. These provided courses will be different to degrees and therefore require less of a commitment, making it easier to balance with full-time employment whilst also being a cost-effective route for employers.
Measuring performance – Institutions will begin to use data to measure and monitor student’s performance and progress throughout term. In the same way that data is used to tailor marketing campaigns, faculties will utilise data in order to tailor content and the way that is presented to students. Online learning allows institutions to measure things such as whether or not a student has logged in, which can help in deciphering whether or not an individual is on target. This access to data will also allow them to measure data in real-time whilst monitoring how a student performs in assignments and therefore assist their learning accordingly. This not only ensures that students are being offered the right support but also that their learning is altered to ensure that they are fully understanding information.
Specialist subjects – Online education improves accessibility and therefore allows students to gain exposure of countless courses. However, there will be an increase in the amount of specialised courses that are offered in order to cater to areas that are lacking a specific skillset. For example, a demand for nursing skills could lead to an increase in niche courses to teach these skills and therefore fulfil this gap in the job market. Courses will be more focused and tailored to the job market and therefore have a positive socio-economic impact.
Utilising artificial intelligence – In the same way that products such as Apple’s Siri operate using artificial intelligence, this technology will also be incorporated into teaching. For example, if a student has a generic question about a topic, they are able to converse and receive answers without the presence of an instructor. This not only helps to reduce cost but also ensures that students receive answers in real-time. By embedding these into courses, it will reduce the faculty’s responsibility and allow content to be presented in various ways. With users already becoming dependent and accustomed to this means of gaining information, it will be an easy transition for students.
The experience of gaining an online degree from university will be a more inclusive experience with the responsibility shifting from faculty to student. This not only creates a more engaging and overall beneficial experience for the student but ensures that they are still learning and retaining the information in a way that they are already accustomed to. As technology becomes more integrated into society, teaching will utilise this and therefore be more experimental in presenting information to students. With almost everyone owning some sort of electronic device, institutions will utilise this by ensuring that they continue explore innovations in teaching.
With everything quickly becoming digitalised, there is a higher demand for people with technical skills. Therefore, with future employment in mind, more students are choosing to pursue a Diploma in IT and computing in order to help them secure a job after graduation.
What are the advantages of an IT and computing diploma?
Aside from teaching you the relevant technical skills, a computing diploma will help to open up the pathway to a more successful future. Through developing an in-depth understanding and gaining the key practical skills required in the workplace, an IT and computing diploma will provide you with a learning experience to make you more employable.
One of the most important elements of computing is to be able to problem-solve and think logically, both of which are highly desirable skills in any field. These courses not only teach you how to work under pressure but ensure that you are able to make rational decisions and think critically which will be an asset to any organisation.
Knowledge itself is often not enough when in competition with several other candidates, however a computing diploma provides you with the experience to substantiate your practical skills. During interviews, candidates are often asked to provide examples of skills which can be difficult without any real-life experience. However, studying a technical course can help to provide you with a repertoire of answers because you will have gained the necessary knowledge and skills. It also gives you an added advantage because you are able to graduate and immediately enter the workplace due to having gained the relevant skills. Other courses can be restrictive, confining students to their chosen field and causing obstructions if they ultimately decide that they no longer wish to pursue it. Therefore, technical diplomas are often favoured due to teaching a broad skillset and allowing students to move amongst industries.
What opportunities are available?
As technology begins to take precedence and quickly become a central part of our everyday processes, there is more demand than ever for digital and technical skills. Therefore, candidates with these skills are more likely to quickly secure positions.
Technology itself is developing at an increased rate and is creating opportunities to work with various devices in more innovative ways. Other career fields are often inflexible, whereas as technology continues to evolve, your job role will also change accordingly, allowing you to grow your skillset as you work and remain aware of shifts within the industry. The ever-growing nature of technology also means that there will always be a requirement for a technical skillset, therefore ensuring that you will always be able to acquire a job.
Another added bonus is that the salary expectation for technical and computing roles is often higher than that of any other industry, particularly when compared to the amount that other graduates are earning immediately after completing their qualifications.
A majority of organisations have IT departments, meaning that you will never be confined to one industry and are able to move around. Organisations will also be more willing to invest in professional qualifications which provides more opportunity for you to grow and broaden your knowledge.
The skills that you will acquire through studying for a Diploma in IT and computing can also be transferred globally and will provide you with the opportunity to travel or move abroad. You will quickly be able to adapt to a new workplace and use new technology which can be particularly useful in situations when an organisation requires an employee to begin immediately. Although technical skills themselves are often not perceived as being flexible, they do allow you to be flexible in your career through working in various job roles and industries. Therefore, technical diplomas will continue to increase in popularity due to creating more opportunities for graduates in an overly competitive job market and not confining them to one industry.
Students now have access to thousands of online courses from institutions across the globe, whether it is a niche subject or something as broad as business. However, institutions are finding that more and more students are dropping out of online courses due to the lack of interaction. In comparison to a class where students are surrounded by peers everyday, the experience of online learning can often be presented as an isolating process. However, it is important to note that online learning itself requires students to be more proactive and therefore the interaction is something that must also be sought out.
The internet is a pool of resources both for information and interaction. With the introduction of countless social media platforms, there are now online communities that can help to foster and facilitate learning. Whilst traditional education promises a classroom full of students and face-to-face interaction with a teacher, online learning offers platforms where students are able to participate in discussions and be a part of a wider and global community. Online education for learners does not have to be void of interaction. Students have the resources to ask questions and provide support to one another, with instructors available in just a few clicks. This accessibility differs from traditional education because students do not have to wait for office hours to see an instructor and can instead contact them instantly via email. They also have the option of posting their questions in a discussion board or on a social media platform where they are able to receive answers quicker than they would be provided in a regular education.
By having the capacity to ask more questions and interact with working professionals from all over the world, students are able to facilitate their own learning process. Online learning places the emphasis on the student to seek out a wider community instead of being presented with a classroom. This not only means that there is no forced interaction but that the students can build stronger bonds throughout the period of their course. There are also countless instructional videos circulating the internet, presenting opportunities to collaborate with students from all over the world.
Although students often find that they cannot quickly ask the instructor a question in the middle of a class or confer with someone in real-time, social media emulates this form of communication and allows students to quickly converse through online chat in order to clarify information when learning. This real-time interaction is integral to the process because it is often in the midst of discussion that ideas are sparked. Therefore, if students make the effort to seek out a platform where they are able to ask questions, online education can often be more enriching than the conventional route of learning.
Another concern that some students have is their overall lack of motivation or encouragement when not being surrounded by their peers. They often find themselves yearning for a sense of belonging, and so seeking out a role in a wider community is essential. Students have to be responsible for pursuing this form of interaction because online education for learners does not have to be a solitary process. There are study groups and countless interactive tools that can be utilised. In fact, an online education can be a more interactive and far less intimidating approach than that of being in a classroom. By allowing students to share their learning and ask questions without the fear of a time constraint, there is more space to develop ideas and a deeper understanding of subjects.
With technology itself contributing to the way that we absorb information and interact with other people, it has proven to be a successful way of emulating the dynamics of a classroom and it is therefore up to the students to both create and pursue a means of communication that works for them. Online education can be just as interactive if approached correctly.