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