Re­de­vel­oped dis­tance learn­ing with a per­son­alised on­line so­lu­tion

The Star Early Edition - - COMPANIES -

MIL­PARK Ed­u­ca­tion has pi­o­neered a new ap­proach to study­ing with ‘Dis­tance Learn­ing on­line’ (DLO). By us­ing ac­ces­si­ble tech­nol­ogy to bridge the gap be­tween space and time, usu­ally as­so­ci­ated with cur­rent of­fer­ings, it pro­vides a vir­tual class­room.

“This,” Ex­ec­u­tive Dean, Es­ther Ven­ter, ex­plains, “repli­cates and im­proves the tra­di­tional con­tact learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. And, in an ever evolv­ing ed­u­ca­tion land­scape - in­clud­ing greater ac­cess to the in­ter­net – it is what makes us the leader in dis­tance learn­ing in the coun­try.”

When the Busi­ness School launched its on­line Masters of Busi­ness Ad­min­is­tra­tion (MBA) in Jan­uary last year it was the first in­sti­tu­tion of higher learn­ing in the coun­try to do so. This year the Bach­e­lor of Com­merce (B.Com) and Bach­e­lor of Busi­ness Ad­min­is­tra­tion (BBA) fol­lowed.

Ven­ter tells how the DLO ap­proach opens the doors of learn­ing to peo­ple who are in in­dus­tries where there is a de­mand for a for­mal qual­i­fi­ca­tion for ca­reer en­hance­ment cou­pled with a need for flex­i­bil­ity in their stud­ies.

“This is from both a fi­nan­cial and a time per­spec­tive. And our of­fer­ing, be­sides guar­an­tee­ing high en­gage­ment, has been es­pe­cially de­vel­oped to fit the de­mands of daily life.”

She says Mil­park Ed­u­ca­tion em­barked on the cre­ation of novel prod­ucts un­ri­valled in the South African dis­tance learn­ing land­scape be­cause it ap­pre­ci­ates the daily chal­lenges stu­dents face.

“This has al­lowed us to de­velop new ways of learn­ing that re­move the bar­ri­ers of traf­fic, lo­ca­tion and low en­gage­ment with­out com­pro­mis­ing on the qual­ity of the de­gree.”

The qual­ity in­ter­ac­tive learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence is flex­i­ble enough for stu­dents to study at their con­ve­nience, in a man­ner that is best for them, in­de­pen­dently of place and time. Mul­ti­ple in­stances of as­sess­ment en­sure stu­dent progress.

Dr Joseph Sekhampu, Dean of Mil­park Ed­u­ca­tion School of Com­merce, says “DLO is rev­o­lu­tion­ary and chal­lenges tra­di­tional dis­tance learn­ing de­liv­ery. Our ap­proach is to use tech­nol­ogy to bridge the di­vide of space and time; a vir­tual class­room repli­cat­ing and im­prov­ing the learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence of con­tact learn­ing.

“Tra­di­tional dis­tance learn­ing meant regis­ter­ing, col­lect­ing your books, at­tend­ing classes at a tu­to­rial cen­tre (for a se­lect few in­sti­tu­tions) and then sit­ting for an exam. Re­search on the suc­cess of this ap­proach is damn­ing, with through-put rates of less than 15 per­cent.

“One of the great­est ben­e­fits of this ap­proach is that it al­lows stu­dents to tai­lor their stud­ies around their lives. For ex­am­ple, tak­ing a mod­ule while trav­el­ling the world or to change sub­jects in their own time and to take a break dur­ing peak or­gan­i­sa­tional pe­ri­ods.”

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