Re­de­vel­oped dis­tance learn­ing with a per­son­alised on­line so­lu­tion

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS -

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.

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