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How can the accessibility of education give businesses a competitive advantage?
In part one of this two part series in how helping to educate can help out your business, I discussed how the developments in digital and mobile technology have accelerated the opportunities for education and business.
Today we will take this a step further. The accessibility of education through mobile technology is not only limited to primary education, or to developing or under-developed countries. It affects higher and university education, as well as developed countries.
While the idea of broadcasting lectures via podcasts or posting lecture notes online is quite old, the year 2012 saw an explosion in the rise of in free university courses offered online. These types of courses are called Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC’s) and are aimed at large scale interactive participation. For example, professors from Stanford University last year started up Udacity and Coursera, two massive open online courses, which to date have raised $65M funding. Coursera currently works with 83 educational institutions across four continents and offers around 400 free courses to more than four million students from every country in the world.
EdX mission statement declares: “The Future of Online Education – for anyone, anywhere, anytime”, is an online educational platform freshly launched by Harvard University and MIT.
These platforms not only offer best in class, high quality lectures and courses, but also interactive coursework, tests and certificates and a credits system is under evaluation. Be prepared to see the university system completely turned upside down in the next few years.
What opportunities does this new way of educating bring to businesses?
There are various ways for businesses to get involved in these new online courses and due to their reach and massive appeal and by getting involved businesses can gain a huge competitive advantage if they jump onboard sooner rather than later.
Sponsorship is a great way to get involved. For example, there are several opportunities to sponsor a course, which not only give businesses great brand exposure, but also provide access to markets, countries and people that they may not have had access to before. There are also opportunities to sponsor remote learning platforms, which can allow businesses to show their affinity to a local community and exercise their Corporate Social Responsibility.
Whilst sponsorship brings great direct advantages to businesses, there are wider benefits for both businesses and communities, such as creating jobs for the newly educated, reducing costs through local employment rather than having to source educated staff and this all contributes to the wealth of local communities.
The vision of an educated, cultivated, equal, wealthy and peaceful world is not only for naïve dreamers anymore?
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