There is nothing I value more in the professional world than education. As both a business owner and business instructor, I understand how important the right education is in the success of any business.
That's why it's so troubling that the vast majority of business education centers around teaching students how to be an employee when 30% of the U.S. workforce is self-employed. Some of these business owners are job creators, and others are micro businesses (with less than five employees).
Universities want to create well-rounded students and try to prepare them for their future jobs. But if 30% of the workforce is self-employed, why doesn't a MBA program teach students the basics of starting a business?
That's why more people are turning towards alternative education sources to find the right business education. Over 35 million students were enrolled in Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCS), and millions of others were registered in one-demand online courses. These alternatives to traditional higher education allow students to focus on learning the specific skills they need to build a successful business.
I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Subramanyam Reddy, Co-founder and Managing Director at KnowledgeHut, where we discussed the future of online business learning.
Could you tell me a little about KnowledgeHut and the types of courses you offer?
At KnowledgeHut, we offer a variety of training courses that cater to the needs of working professionals who want to enhance their skills. All our trainers have deep industry experience, and they can offer unique real-world expertise, tips, and techniques to our customers - empowering them to take informed actions that help them get an edge in their careers. By keeping our pulse on the forefront of technology and business, we keep ourselves updated with the latest in knowledge training around the world.
For example, Agile seems to be the buzzword in business these days. What most people don't understand is that Agile is not just a set of processes. It is a whole new way of thought, which offers very real value to businesses looking to rethink their processes and reinvent themselves to adapt better to changing industry needs. Because Agile is a growing aspect of business, we now offer Agile coaching and consultancy services for those who want to implement Agile and transform their growing business in line with the Agile mindset.
How would you explain the explosion of online learning options for business professionals?
Online learning options come with a host of benefits for the busy professional. Today, what people lack the most is time. Flexible learning helps them to balance better their work and other personal commitments together with the study time required to complete the course. They can undertake e-learning courses at their pace, and complete modules whenever they can squeeze in some time.... for instance, even while traveling...or late at night. Virtual classes are also held online, but the learner has to log in at a preset time and attend the class which is led by an expert educator. Both online methods have their distinct advantages.
Again, online classes are available to everyone, regardless of their geographical location. They are extremely affordable too. Students can network with other learners from across the globe and can connect with subject matter experts from around the world. The more they interact with others, the more they can build up a smart business network of peers and use it to their advantage to build their business.
What do you think alternative education options offer that traditional business courses can't?
Today's alternative methods of learning have options that traditional classroom courses were never able to provide. For one thing, online learning is very comprehensive. The material that is created is reviewed by the best minds in the industry, reflects industry best practices and is regularly updated to ensure current global relevance.
Course content is created using exciting new multimedia that can visually engage and stimulate the learner. It has been proven that e-learning content that is visually appealing is easier to comprehend, and students can retain the knowledge gained far more easily. Class recordings are made available to students which they can revisit to clarify doubts and cement their learning.
Successful student outcomes are highest where there is significant student engagement- which often does not happen in the traditional brick and mortar classroom. Collaborative and active learning are the need of the hour, and we need to rethink the classroom experiences to suit this new paradigm.
What types of classes is the majority of your business students interested in taking?
Popular courses include certification courses like PMP® Certification Training, CBAP® Certification Training, Agile, and IT- related courses that can take their career up a notch or two and
demonstrate their professional prowess. Business students who hold an industry recognized credential can also enhance their earning potential. For instance, PMP certification holders earn considerably more than their non-certified peers...around 17- 20% more, which is a tidy sum.
With the explosion in the world of Big Data, Big Data and Hadoop is a sector that is very much in demand as well. Professionals who have multiple skills are more likely to get hired by top companies. The world out there is competitive -- and work-ready courses will help you to stand out among your peers and get noticed by those who matter.
What are the benefits of Agile over traditional project management systems for a small business?
For a small business, success is often measured by its ability to adapt to the changing needs of the market. If you can change faster than the competition, then you can get ahead of them. Agile methods emphasize adjusting goals and requirements on an ongoing basis, and result in an end product that is more realistically aligned to the market expectations. Small businesses that are Agile are consistently able to deliver superior value to customers, with a much smaller team and fewer resources. A win-win situation all around!
Where do you see online business classes growing in the next few years?
We have only touched the tip of the iceberg. The next decade is going to see a seismic shift in educational technology, with the digitisation of learning opening up a whole new world of education that is accessible to all, extremely affordable and fuelled by a passion for knowledge.
Collaboration through online learning networks will blur geographies and knowledge will be shared at the click of a mouse. New curricula and competency-based programs will be led by educators who are hands-on industry practitioners, and learning will be skill-based rather than focused on theoretical knowledge.
The possibilities offered by new-age technology are limitless. Let us wait and watch.