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Post Graduation – Distance Learning Programs and Online Education
There is a trend these days towards further education through distance learning, where graduates and working professionals look to enhance their qualifications and pursue their desired post graduate courses while they continue to work. There has been a fair amount of uncertainty as to the value that the distance learning programs provide to students, as compared to full time courses. What would be the value delivered by the distance education programs? Is the investment in distance learning programs worth it?
There was a time when distance learning programs were considered necessarily inferior to their full time counterparts. While the entire scheme of distance education was conceived to enable more number of people to learn, which would, otherwise, not have been possible with colleges and universities offering limited number of seats through full time education, the perception is changing now. And the chief driver of change is the fact that many more prestigious institutions and universities of high standing offer courses through distance learning, as compared to the few names in distance education that were relatively less known. Heriot-Watt University of Scotland is the largest distance learning MBA program while the prestigious Warwick Business School offers its distance learning MBA. The top Business Schools in India, the Indian Institute of Management, popularly known as IIM, offers distance learning programs in partnership with the corporate sector.
Clearly, the perception of distance learning programs among employers is changing. Further, the advent of technology and broadband connectivity has made online education very much plausible for the working professional. Online Masters Degree delivered through real time communication by Universities makes the best use of telecommunication to deliver knowledge to people through the virtual classroom. Apart from online MBA, there are specialist masters programs that are delivered through online education, which enables working professionals to specialize in their fields.
The convenience offered through online courses, apart from the cost effectiveness of the programs in comparison with full time courses and the ability to pursue higher education while staying on the job has made a difference to the way distance learning programs were perceived. Further, the importance of post graduation as a selling point in career development would make more people resort to distance learning and online education. This trend is more likely to lead to an increased demand for post graduate courses, which could lead to an improved quality of workforce and hence, to higher employee productivity.