Business schools have recognised the value of technology in teaching and learning and have quickly blended the two in order to enhance the student experience. Whilst some teachers may be reluctant to abandon conventional teaching methods, it is important that both student and tutor have the willingness to participate and therefore ensure a better outcome for the student. Some institutions are using technology in learning because it seems like the natural progression when society itself is becoming technologically reliant. However, technology itself needs to be perceived as a tool to help students instead of something that is just a natural transition for the school.
When a student makes the decision to attend a business school, it is often for the sole purpose of securing a job or progressing in their career. Therefore, institutions need to be willing to consider the needs of students and prioritise these in order to maximise the potential of students.
Some UK business school universities have already shifted their focus to the needs of the students by providing them with more support. For example through utilising tools such as Skype where students are able to interact with a tutor and therefore ask questions and receive both the support and encouragement that would take place in a classroom. When an institution is willing to go out of their way to ensure that the student’s needs are met, they are not only helping to improve the educational experience of the student but are ensuring that they will also go on to excel. The use of technology has been revolutionary in meeting the demands of students, for example by providing them with an almost online classroom to emulate the feeling of being surrounded by peers, making up for the lack of physical presence that comes with online education. Business schools are using these platforms to ensure that fewer students feel isolated which is something that can be common in online learning and can even go on to hinder progress.
Technology also provides students with access to the best UK business school universities without them having to commit to moving outside of their geographical location. It not only brings education to the student but ensures that this student is still able to learn from a top institution. Technology is making it possible for them to have a better learning experience, therefore allowing them to go on to excel. It is whilst studying that a student develops their understanding and foundations of the industry and this time is therefore crucial and should be used in order to broaden their knowledge. It is this foundation that the student will go on to build on and use as the basis of their future work, therefore institutions must ensure that they are meeting the demands of students.
Business schools that are already utilising technology have made it possible for their students to interact with global professionals. Students can even enrol on a course at an international business school because the use of technology means that they can study abroad without having to commit to moving. This will not only to make them globally employable but can enhance their future career prospects. Technology creates more opportunities for students and therefore business schools will continue to utilise this in order to improve the overall educational experience.
With students becoming more aware of the different routes of learning, they are now able to pick and choose between the different elements to ensure that their chosen route complements their career goals. Technology itself is becoming a fundamental part of everyday life and schools internationally are beginning to incorporate it into their teaching processes. However, technology itself can help to benefit institutions by bringing them together with another international business school, therefore creating more opportunities whilst allowing them to be able to comprehend a more global perspective of their chosen industry.
The future of business education lies in technology and with the continued development of devices and the internet, teaching and the business curriculum will evolve accordingly. This is a necessary transition in order to ensure that students are always gaining the most out of their education and business schools must continue to cater to this need.
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.
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.
With online courses gaining precedence, more institutions are incorporating them into the teaching and are realising the impact and weight that this route of education can have. In fact, there has been a rise in the amount of universities and schools that are now offering online learning with more and more students choosing to enrol for these courses each year.
Online learning from the UK provides institutions with tangible results in order to measure their outcomes. Through this, they are able to distinguish an increase in revenue from online courses which is a great incentive for them to continue providing them. Whilst institutions place students at the forefront of their teaching, they are essentially still concerned about costing and the profit that they are making from courses. The future will see more institutions focusing on providing an online education because it has proven to be a viable route that is worth investing in. There will also be an increase in schools that solely provide an online education such as the Online Business School. However, some universities are finding that they are struggling with trying to provide and integrate online learning into the education that they already provide without hindering its quality and potential.
The Council of Independent Colleges and the Learning House carried out a survey of chief academic offices in which they found that faculties often act as a barrier to converting to online learning, due to their lack of acceptance. Where teachers are accustomed to standing in front of a class and projecting information, it can often be difficult to integrate new methods and concepts into their teaching. Therefore, some institutions find that it is often challenging for faculty staff to willingly participate in integrating online learning into existing courses or support the idea of courses being solely taught online.
Many institutions already offer distance-learning degrees or integrate e-learning into their teaching. However, taking the step to commit to a full online course can seem daunting and some universities are still questioning its legitimacy.
A benefit of providing an online education is that it opens up the university internationally. Although international students contribute to a large percentage of the student count at universities, online education provides students abroad with access to the university without having to commit to moving to the UK. This not only means that institutions can accommodate more students but also that these students are able to participate in online learning from the UK. The availability of online courses also allows institutions to cater to more students whilst still ensuring that they are gaining a significant revenue. It creates opportunity for them to offer more varied courses whilst also building a network of global connections. Some universities already have campuses abroad, however providing online courses can allow them to have more visibility.
As the job market also continues to become competitive, more individuals are focused on self-development. Therefore, online education caters to working professionals and many organisations already provide online training to the employees with certifications for software such as Google Adwords and Analytics being provided online. Online business schools are gaining more traffic from people that are already educated and are looking to develop and broaden their skillset, therefore e-learning appears to a wider audience and is often the preferred route.
Due to its recognition and credibility, more institutions will eventually begin to move to providing an online education whether that is through integrating it into pre-existing courses or by introducing new ones entirely. Although it may have to be a case of trial and error for some, online learning is already growing in popularity for countless institutions and is resulting in a large revenue being earned.
The flexibility of online education is often the most appealing factor, contributing to many students choosing to opt for this route over a more conventional education. Whilst it promises things like convenience and more freedom, flexibility itself also has a positive impact on the student’s overall learning.
How are students benefiting from flexible learning?
Flexible learning provides students with full control and accountability for their learning. Rather than having to show up to a class as a requirement, they are able to decide and allocate time for their learning. This control not only allows them to co-ordinate their education around their commitments but ensures that they are learning at the best time. For example, some students may work better in the evening but traditional education may restrict them by only offering classes during the day. Flexible learning allows the student to decipher when and how they will learn by tailoring their course to their own capabilities. This ultimately leads to them retaining information and producing better results.
They also have the advantage of learning at their own pace which can help to alleviate a lot of pressure. Teachers often speedily run through concepts and then follow up with a task that students are required to complete. This can pressure individuals to quickly complete the task but does not leave space for students to ask questions. If the student has not understood a concept or idea that the teacher has explained, they are not able to complete the task to the best of their ability, therefore hindering their own learning. The flexibility of online learning allows students to slowly grasp concepts and ensure full comprehension before moving forward. Again, this leads to achieving better grades.
How are institutions helping students by providing flexible learning?
Flexible learning has shifted the entire focus of education from the instructor’s teaching onto the student’s learning. Students were previously required to simply listen in class and then memorise information for a final exam. However, flexible learning is forcing institutions to re-think how students are being taught and whether this traditional method of teaching is ultimately beneficial.
Every student has a different learning style but traditional education does not cater to them all. Therefore, by changing the teaching styles and the way that students are being presented with information, institutions are able to measure its overall impact and outcome. By providing students with the liberty to teach themselves and experiment with various learning methods, the student not only becomes more accountable for the way that they are digesting information but it also helps to shift the responsibility onto the student. When students feel more responsible for their learning, they are more likely to be dedicated and therefore work harder.
Institutions are quickly recognising the value and impact of online learning components and are now beginning to implement them into their teaching. This not only helps to keep students engaged but saves time by teachers not having to allocate tasks in the classroom. Some courses expect students to participate in online quizzes and discussions aside from attending class which can contribute to students being more interactive whilst being fully engaged in the things that they are learning.
The flexibility of online learning itself allows for more self-discipline and also helps students to gain life skills that they can later implement within the workplace. This is something that is often neglected in traditional education whereby students do not prioritise self-growth whilst having to constantly attend classes. Being able to demonstrate that they have acquired these skills through online learning can ultimately contribute to the student acquiring a more senior position within an organisation. Therefore, flexibility itself has an enormous impact on the way that students are learning so its alluring nature has complete validity. Providing an individual with the option of how they learn is integral to their success.
With the rapid increase in the popularity of online education, it is evident that it is proving to be a successful way of learning and thereby benefiting students more than a traditional education. There are countless advantages to learning online whilst also allowing individuals that may not have previously considered pursuing higher education with the opportunity to study and broaden their knowledge. This can only result in a more highly educated society and therefore inevitably have a positive impact on the economy. Below are some of the advantages of online learning:
Provides you with control
Conventional education allows the lecturer to decide how they will convey information to the class and teach students. However, online learning gives you the opportunity to become your own teacher, providing you with full control. People learn in different ways so this control could be the distinguishing factor of whether or not you achieve good grades. For example, in a classroom, the teacher may ask you to complete a task to learn something. With online learning, although there are tasks, you have the time to teach yourself concepts differently without the pressure to quickly provide answers to the teacher. This not only results in you understanding topics better but ensures that you explore different ways of learning, allowing you to fully retain information.
Create your own environment
Instead of having to sit in a classroom full of your peers, you can choose where you learn. This ensures that you are maximising your own potential and also helps you gain the most out of your education. For example, if you know that you work better in a library or in the middle of a coffee shop, you have the freedom to learn in these spaces. Creating your own working environment has a positive impact on the way that you absorb and digest information. Again, everyone works differently and so being forced to learn in a classroom setting is not always successful. Sometimes it is about finding the right space for you.
Although the cost of the course itself may not necessarily save you money, you will find that you are still able to save within other areas. For example, not having to travel to attend a class or purchase textbooks. Online learning also allows you to choose your own hours, therefore creating time for you to pursue other things such as a full-time job. Being able to earn whilst studying is often difficult to balance with a conventional education because classes can be spread throughout the day.
Online learning provides you with the flexibility to work at any hour of the day and coordinate your learning around your schedule. One of the advantages of this is that if you are put into a situation where something urgent arises such as your car breaking down, you do not have to worry about rushing to a class due to the fear of missing out on an entire topic. Instead you have the luxury of being able to re-arrange your time and learn later or on another day. This flexibility is non-prevalent within conventional education, in fact missing a class can often force you to fall behind your peers.
Distance learning allows you to be a part of an online community and therefore helps you connect with other professionals in the field. This will provide you with a more in-depth understanding of the global industry, whilst aiding your education through reading and sharing relevant material. By placing you in a situation where you are responsible for networking and building connections, it can set you up for your future career where this is something that will be expected from you. Gaining different perspectives can also aid your thinking skills and therefore cause you to think more critically, a skill which is highly sought by employers.
Online learning can be responsible for improving many of your personal skills and is something that can benefit all areas of your life. For example, it will help to make you more punctual through your time management skills. This can then go on to impact you when attending social gatherings or even attending meetings in the future. There are countless ways in which online learning can help to enrich your life and develop into a well-rounded person.
With the rapid progression of technology and its integration into our everyday lives, the prospect of it being used as a tool to aid education and learning was inevitable. There are now countless electronic devices available, from mobile phones to tablets, making it possible to access information wherever you are. This not only creates a space for online education but also presents learning as an option to those who may not previously have considered further study.
What is online learning?
Instead of being present in a classroom every day, online offers you the opportunity to learn and take your classes from home. Whilst it still requires you to take exams and complete assignments, it creates more flexibility and therefore is often more appealing over a traditional education. You are able to access learning material as long as you have an internet connection, meaning that you do not have to commit to travelling to a class at a set time. Online learning makes education available to everyone and is also carried out through various teaching techniques, thereby appealing to every type of learning style. It provides all students with the opportunity to thrive.
Acceptance of online learning among people
Whilst some remain hesitant about choosing online learning over a conventional education, one only has to look at universities and the way that they are already utilising technology to aid learning and efficiency. For example, reading material is often posted online and students are directed to relevant resources on the internet to broaden their understanding. Universities also use virtual softwares such as BlackBoard to allow students to access modular information and material. Most university libraries even offer e-books which are invaluable to students and can help to reduce their time and costs. However, the use of technology also reduces costs for universities, for example students are often required to submit assignments online through softwares such as Turnitin, which detects plagiarism. This eliminates the need for a teacher to have to sift through to check and compare people’s work, therefore saving money.
If online learning were to replace traditional education, it would have a significant impact on budgets of universities. For example, they would no longer be required to print hand-outs or pay lecturers for standing and teaching a class. Although they would need to support students online, it would still reduce their time and cost. Technology has changed the face of education and is already being used so effectively, demonstrating that it can be and is a successful way of learning.
Future of online learning by 2025
The evolution of technology inevitably means that it will continue to replace and improve aspects of traditional learning. Younger people are quickly becoming accustomed to using the internet to seek information which is inevitably impacting the way that they digest and absorb information. Therefore, it is important for education to develop and change in order to cater to this type of learner. There has already been a rise in online learning and it is quickly becoming a prominent way of gaining an education. In a society that is becoming reliant on technology, it only makes sense for online education to develop into the predominant way of learning.
Many online education providers make up for the lack of social interaction between students by providing a student forum where the students can communicate and share their ideas. They might want to discuss a particular assignment that they are currently on or get answers to a question that they know they will receive a direct response for. With online education garnering more and more attention along with students, below we discuss the benefits of online forums.
For a course provider, online forums can be a beneficial aid to their courses. Professors can instantly check how engaged their students are by viewing their activity within the forum. The more interested a student is in the course they are studying, the more they will seek out the different information resources available to them. Professor Martin, from the Online Business School (OBS) states, ‘I know who my top students are simply by looking into the online forum. They’ll be the ones engaging in conversation, starting threads and participating regularly. From personal experience, the students who have a good online presence, generally do better than those who don’t.’ Professors can also communicate quickly and efficiently with their students using online forums since all the students are in one place. For students however, online forums are even more beneficial:
Students who are not as confident in a social environment may find forums help them to be able to have that extra time to put together their response. In a traditional university or a group conversation they perhaps may not share their opinion however an online forum provides them with the freedom to express their ideas. As they offer more input to their discussion online and become comfortable voicing their point of view, it may encourage them to participate in group conversations that are not online.
Gain new skills
It’s not to say that online forums can only benefit those who are lacking in social skills; even those who excel in expressing their opinions in a group conversation can use online forums to hone their listening skills and being able to critique what others have said. Observing how others gather their thoughts and form opinions helps every student to improve their own communication skills. The quality of conversation will often be higher than face-to-face as students know that professors have the ability to access their posts.
Regular use of an online forum provides a bank of resources that students may find useful to refer back to. Rather than digging through piles of crumpled paper to look for group discussion notes or hastily written minutes, they can simply scroll back to when the conversation took place to remind themselves of what was said. Some may be reluctant to encourage students to spend more time online however this does not need to be the case. Students can set up their account to receive notifications by email or other preferred contact type.
We can see that forums are a highly valuable tool in the education sector. When used effectively, they ensure that students are improving their communication skills without even being aware they are doing so. Professors can use them to monitor their students and focus their efforts in engaging those students who may not be as present as others. As the online education sector continues to grow, surely the online forum will become the hub of student engagement.
Ask any student and they’ll tell you that without a doubt a MBA increases your chances of gaining better employment. According to the Complete University Guide, the number one school in the UK offering MBAs is the London Business School. Almost instantly, the price you would think an MBA costs has doubled if you’re thinking of attending the London Business School. What if you could have an MBA without the excessive cost and all from the comfort of your own home?
The Online Business School (OBS) offer an online MBA that consists of 30 interactive modules and 8 written assignments. Each module has on average 40 guided learning hours that you can complete at your own pace. All the material is available online so you can study this from home or even pick your favourite coffee bar. An additional 30-50 hours are optional where you can complete the recommended exercises and reading or even carry out the self-testing exercises. This is available at only £1095 and ensures you are qualified to progress on to a MBA top-up degree at a wide range of UK universities. The MBA top up degree comes at an additional cost but you’re certain to receive a quality university experience; combining distance learning and studying on campus. With the OBS, you also get access to 24/7 support plus tutoring making the path to a degree a smooth one.
So why should you choose an online MBA?
We’ve mentioned cost already and although cost can be an important factor in making a decision, other components should also be considered. For instance, if you’re reasonably busy with a career or just life in general, an online MBA will allow you to study with ease. There’s no commute to worry about, no traffic and definitely no travel fees. If you have children, you can make sure they’re occupied and peruse over your notes whilst still being at home. For the MBA top up, you would have to attend a university campus however you can pick a university that is close to you. With an online MBA, you can also have access to support 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. Lewis Hern, who is studying the Level 7 in Business Management with OBS cites the student forum the reason as to why he went with the OBS, ‘The OBS provide a student forum where I can ask other students questions. I can get the university social experience from the comfort of my own home.’
With the nature of an online education making it accessible worldwide, an online MBA gives you access to a strong and useful professional network. Whilst sharing ideas in the student forum, you may discover career opportunities all over the world that you may never have previously considered. Online education has a wide range of students and with that comes the wealth of wisdom that can be shared to enhance your university experience and possibly even your career prospects. Students who are too busy and may not otherwise have the time to attend careers fairs and other networking events may find that they do not need to once they have studied online.
So if you’re considering an MBA, don’t discount online education providers. The courses are made to be practical so you can slot them in to your day to day life. If you’re motivated and have the desire to learn, they can be just the right push your career needs. Furthermore, they are available at affordable prices so a traditional university is not the only option you have.
When you’re choosing a course of study to enhance your career there are many options to consider. If full-time study is not an option, you’re left with part-time courses, distance learning, hybrid options such as the Open University or joining an online business school.
If you haven’t studied since you left full-time education you may be apprehensive about the amount of time required. You could be concerned about how you’ll get on if left to your own self-management to complete your work on time.
The Holy Grail for managers is the MBA – but there are many people who set out on this journey and simply can’t keep up on their own. Fitting your study around the demands of your current work and family can be really challenging.
Our recommendation is to start with smaller steps and work up.
If you already have a degree, or you’ve been a manager for a few years already, a Level 7 Diploma in Strategic Management is two thirds of the way to that MBA. It gives you 120 credits – and your MBA is just another 60 credits away, all of which could be achieved with your dissertation.
If you study through our Online Business School system you’ll be able to work at your own pace – there is no ‘term’ or ‘semester’ to complete. This is great for working people who have to juggle work, study and family commitments.
How does online tutoring work?
A level 7 Diploma in Strategic Management programme consists of 30 modules – plus eight written assignments. How you tackle them is entirely up to you.
You get access to all the modules and you can complete them in the order you prefer – and you’re not on your own, there’s 24/7 support, tutoring and more to help you succeed.
Each module consists of core learning of 40 hours, supplemented with up to 50 optional hours of additional reading, internet resources, self-tests and exercises – to help deepen your understanding of the subject. It doesn’t matter how long you take to complete each module – with online learning there are no deadlines.
This means you choose the order to complete your modules and whether to study more than one at a time. You also choose how much support you need – all you need is a broadband connection to get access to a tutor whether you’re studying during your lunchbreak, at the crack of dawn or in the wee small hours!
Your qualification can be upgraded to an MBA when you’re ready, either on campus or online – the choice is yours!
Online Business School is at the forefront of online education. Based in Coventry, it is dedicated to helping Students from all corners of the world attain an undergraduate Degree or postgraduate MBA for less than £5000. With a 24/7 student networking platform, personal dashboards, 1-2-1 online tutorials, group webinars and bank of pre-recorded group webcasts, Online Business School provides students with all the support that they need to succeed in developing their professional skill base and achieve a university qualification. www.onlinebusinessschool.com