Online Learn­ing: Mak­ing the Vi­sion of ‘Any­where, Any­time, Any­how Ed­u­ca­tion’ a Re­al­ity

ArabAd - - ADTALK - BY: NI­DAL ABOU ZAKI, MAN­AG­ING DI­REC­TOR OF ORI­ENT PLANET ACADEMY

Online learn­ing, also known as e-learn­ing, of­fers a strong value propo­si­tion for to­day’s time-con­strained, in­for­ma­tion-hun­gry and tech­nol­ogy-savvy so­ci­ety. Many ‘ne­ti­zens’ highly ap­pre­ci­ate the flex­i­bil­ity of ac­quir­ing knowl­edge and skills from the con­fines of their own home or any other con­ve­nient lo­ca­tion, and at their own time and pace at that.

Sta­tis­tics show that the rise in online learn­ing’s pop­u­lar­ity will not wane any­time soon. In 2011, an es­ti­mated USD 35.6 bil­lion was spent on self-paced e-learn­ing world­wide; at present, e-learn­ing is a USD 56.2 bil­lion in­dus­try that is ex­pected to dou­ble by 2015. The Mid­dle Eastern mar­ket, in par­tic­u­lar, is fast catch­ing up with other re­gions due to on­go­ing ef­forts to digi­tise ed­u­ca­tion in the area. Ac­cord­ing to a re­port re­leased by cloud e-learn­ing so­lu­tions provider Do­cebo, last year’s re­gional e-learn­ing rev­enues reached USD 443 mil­lion and will hit the USD 561-mil­lion mark by 2016. Fur­ther, the re­gional sec­tor’s pro­jected an­nual growth rate of 8.2 per­cent is ex­pected to out­pace even the global mar­ket’s yearly growth av­er­age of 7.6 per­cent.

The de­mand for e-learn­ing from both em­ployed in­di­vid­u­als and stu­dents in the re­gion is mount­ing. Online learn­ing helps them be­come more com­pet­i­tive by bol­ster­ing their knowl­edge and skills with­out com­pro­mis­ing their com­mit­ments. Dig­i­tal ed­u­ca­tion is es­pe­cially al­lur­ing to sec­tors such as Mar­ket­ing and Public Re­la­tions, which have to con­tend with cus­tomer-fac­ing, fast-chang­ing and in­for­ma­tion-in­ten­sive busi­ness en­vi­ron­ments. Pro­fes­sion­als in these fields are specif­i­cally look­ing to in­crease their edge in the flour­ish­ing re­gional mar­kets. It is within this back­drop that Ori­ent Planet Academy, the first online Public Re­la­tions and Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Academy in the Mid­dle East, was launched.

The Academy, the re­sult of a joint ven­ture agree­ment be­tween Ori­ent Planet PR & Mar­ket­ing Com­mu­ni­ca­tions and the Ir­ish Academy of Public Re­la­tions, breaks down the bar­ri­ers of ge­og­ra­phy and time to lead the way to de­vel­op­ing and en­hanc­ing the ca­reer of com­mu­ni­ca­tion pro­fes­sion­als in the Mid­dle East. It of­fers a vi­able plat­form for stu­dents to hone their ex­per­tise and tap into the other busi­ness-friendly strengths of tech­nol­ogy along the way. The Academy fo­cuses on pro­vid­ing cost-ef­fec­tive, prac­ti­cal and in­ter­na­tion­ally recog­nised cour­ses to push the com­mu­ni­ca­tions in­dus­try to the next level.

Any in­di­vid­ual can now easily en­roll at any of Ori­ent Planet Academy’s five cour­ses, namely Public Re­la­tions, Online Mar­ket­ing and PR, English Gram­mar, Jour­nal­ism and Event Man­age­ment. The Academy’s stu­dents learn from world-class aca­demics and ex­perts who are well re­spected in their fields and ben­e­fit from cour­ses that un­dergo strict qual­ity con­trol and are tai­loured to fit Arab cul­tural re­quire­ments. All pro­grammes are cur­rently taught in English but will even­tu­ally be of­fered in Ara­bic as well in the com­ing months. Within a span of 10 to 20 weeks, a stu­dent can fin­ish the mod­ules of one course and re­ceive a glob­ally recog­nised cer­tifi­cate pro­vided that he or she passes all writ­ten as­sign­ments and other re­quire­ments.

Learn­ing in the dig­i­tal age has made pos­si­ble the dream of ‘any­where, any­time, any­how ed­u­ca­tion.’ For in­di­vid­u­als, this means a chance to har­ness their full po­ten­tial; for busi­nesses, bound­less op­por­tu­ni­ties to re­main con­stantly com­pet­i­tive and rel­e­vant. For so­ci­ety at large, online plat­forms such as Ori­ent Planet Academy rep­re­sent a dis­rup­tive and trans­for­ma­tive path to knowl­edge that now brings learn­ing to their doorsteps rather than the tra­di­tional op­po­site route of bring­ing them to learn­ing.

Dig­i­tal ed­u­ca­tion is es­pe­cially al­lur­ing to sec­tors such as Mar­ket­ing and Public Re­la­tions, which have to con­tend with cus­tomer-fac­ing, fast-chang­ing and in­for­ma­tion-in­ten­sive busi­ness en­vi­ron­ments.

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