Redeveloped distance learning with a personalised online solution
MILPARK EDUCATION has pioneered a new approach to learning by offering a selection of its qualifications via distance learning, in an online format known as Distance Learning Online (DLO).
The focus of this approach is high-engagement learning in a flexible and accessible format using technology to bridge the gap between space and time.
Esther Venter, Executive Dean of Milpark Education says this mode of delivery makes it possible for students to obtain a degree from wherever they live or work, anywhere in the world.
Students who are interested in high-quality tuition, but need flexibility in how and when they interact with fellow students, the lecturer and the institution, will find this option very attractive.
She adds that the higher education institution embarked on the creation of novel products unrivalled in the South African distance learning landscape because it understands the daily challenges students face.
“DLO replicates and improves the traditional distance 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.”
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 a financial and a time perspective and our offering, besides guaranteeing high engagement, has been especially developed to meet the demands of daily life,” Venter explains. The DLO offering is unique in that: Students get to focus on one module for eight weeks, resulting in better results and a better chance to pass.
There is greater flexibility – the convenience of online learning is you can learn anywhere and anytime.
Multiple intake opportunities per year allow for better and flexible planning of studies – taking higher education out of the traditional mould of two semesters and one cut-off date.
Milpark Education has six intakes in one year.
Paying only for the module registered for allows for better budgeting.
There is outstanding student support, with one lecturer per cohort of 25 students.
Venter adds: “The smaller classes lead to more engagement through the interactive group discussions. So the constant learning and support possibly exceeds that of classroom.”
Milpark Education launched its online Masters of Business Administration (MBA), Bachelor of Commerce (BCom) and Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) programmes last year further anchoring its position as a leader in DLO.
In November, last year, it was rated the number one private provider of MBAs in South Africa, and number two overall in the 2016 PMR.africa awards for business schools offering MBA/MBL degrees.
With the addition of DLO to its delivery, Milpark Education offers students the choice of classroom based-learning, or a quality interactive learning experience.
The latter being 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 throughput rates of less than 15 percent.”
He elaborates: “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.”
Arthur Goldstuck, founder of World Wide Worx, praised Milpark Education for introducing initiatives that use digital tools to enhance learning.
“Everyone is connected, every teacher has access to every tool, and every student has access to all information.
“Yet, much of our education is still based on 19th century systems, styles and philosophies.”
With SA’s rapid increase in Internet usage, Goldstuck predicts that by the year 2020, of the 24.6million Internet users in SA, 18.5million will be involved in the digital economy.
“The classroom of tomorrow will have to focus on problem-solving, creativity, collaboration, and negotiation in order to prepare the future workforce”.
Dr Sekhampu notes: “This is a vision Milpark is embracing with our approach to DLO.
“Technology is an enabler for learning and there is a need to use digital tools and resources to enhance the role of the teacher, rather than replace it.
“We are currently one of the few pioneers introducing digital tools to create a better learning experience.”
He reminds that the benefits of completing an MBA through Milpark Education are not limited to online.
“Contact learning for the MBA offers students the face-to-face interaction and immediacy some prefer. The choice depends on the student’s lifestyle demands.”
Esther Venter, Executive Dean of Milpark Education.