An online degree program is the new-age education mode that enables learning at the fingertip. Online programs help learners acquire knowledge and level up their skills using their own devices, and without having to visit brick-and-mortar institutions. More than convenience and flexibility, online learning provides various other facilities that conventional offline learning may not be able to provide.
Most of the online degree programs designed by leading higher education institutions (HEIs) are powered by EdTech enterprises. The EdTech-HEI collaboration ensures content development and delivery that suits the industry’s demands.
Several online learning platforms and HEIs focus on providing continuous and consistent industry exposure to all learners enrolled in online courses. Through various ‘industry-connect’ activities, students can prepare themselves to be job-ready professionals who are productive from their first days at work.
Industry exposure in online learning
Some key activities included in online programs are –
- Updated and relevant curriculum: While developing curriculum for online programs, HEIs include industry inputs to give updated content to learners.
- Faculty with many years of industry experience: HEIs and EdTech platforms make sure that experienced and reputed faculty are part of their programs.
- Inducting industry leaders as faculty: Top executives of reputed companies are usually inducted into the teaching faculty of online degree programs. Students get latest industry insights from such faculty, and this serves as a great value addition to learners when they start their professional lives.
- Webinars by industry leaders and professionals: Webinars are one of the key elements of most online degree programs. Business leaders and senior professionals from top companies are invited to speak on topics that are relevant to learners. These webinars are mostly interactive, and students get to know about up-to-date industry developments and trends from the guest speakers. These webinars are also opportunities for students to broaden their professional networks.
- Case study-based content delivery: Students are given cases or situations beforehand, and they share their observations in live classes with other learners. Through this practice, they can learn about the operations and functions of organizations and acquaint themselves with real-world problem-solving.
- Train with real-time data: This is applicable for data science and business analytics programs. To hone data science skills, learners are provided access to real-time datasets to generate insights. This gives them an understanding of how things work in the real world.
- Simulation-based training: This is another method to prepare learners to become job-ready. It has many models – from basic breakout rooms to simulation software. Through this method, students experience real workplace situations and resolve possible hurdles they may face in their job roles.
- Access to other platforms and tools: EdTech enterprises give free access to paid platforms such as Google Cloud Platforms, GitHub, AWS, Azure etc., to practice newly earned skills. Learners can practice on these platforms to polish their skills and become skill-rich for a better career.
Listed above are some of the activities followed by online education providers to prepare students to become competent for future roles. The most significant part of online learning is that one can pursue the program while continuing their full-time work. This helps them remain updated with industry trends from time to time. For such students, industry exposure is very important to stay ahead of the curve.
The general perception is that the lack of physical touch and feeling may be a disadvantage for individuals who complete online degree programs. However, the evolving workplace and work culture is leaning towards remote and distributed working, and physical or digital training will only benefit the productivity of candidates. In short, the industry exposure through online programs is not too different from that of offline programs. Moreover, there are constant innovations in the EdTech industry and things are only bound to improve further in the years to come.
The article has been written by Gaurav Vohra, Chief Business Officer, UNext Learning