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Education Specialist, works as educational counselors addressing a variety of student challenges.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Is Skipping College For Your Start-Up A Good Idea?

Do you dream of becoming an entrepreneur? Are planning to start a business? Can a college degree help in your start-up? Or should you skip college and start your business right away? Let’s find out....

Is College Worth It?

Several college graduates are now becoming entrepreneurs and most of them are wondering whether college was worth it. Although there are some graduates who believe the skills and knowledge they gained from college make them better entrepreneurs, there are many others who think college was a waste of time and money and they should have dropped out and started their business sooner. 

Should You Skip College?

According to a 2013 study by Hiscox, a small business insurer, almost 50 per cent of small business owners in US claim that the national education system fails to identify and inspire individual dreams and ideas, 2 crucial elements in entrepreneurship. Moreover skipping college for starting a business becomes more appealing when you consider that entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates did not earn any formal college degree.

However for every successful entrepreneur without a formal education, there is one college dropout who wishes he completed college before starting business. The fact is there are several factors that you must consider before you take such an important step. 

Don’t Miss Out On Opportunities

However, when you have a great idea, then it simply does not make sense to spend 4 years in college and miss out on excellent opportunities. So if you wish to start your business as soon as possible and yet earn a higher education qualification, then the best option for you is going online. Online programmes are designed in such a way that enables you to work full time and yet acquire essential skills without investing excessive time and money. 

Pursuing an online diploma in business can help you to gain necessary business skills and knowledge that will enable you to lead your start-up towards success. Moreover as you will be able to work while you study, you can gain relevant and real-world work experience to have a better understanding of the business and the sector you are in.

Get Some Real-World Experience

Skyler Slade, co-founder of automated customer research app Coefficient, believes work experience is crucial to being a better entrepreneur. Initially he worked with Grooveshark, a music-streaming website, to gather experience and knowledge about how to run a business. He says, “Working at someone else's startup for five years prepared me to start my own company more than any college degree could have. It's one thing to take classes on entrepreneurship, and to read about management, but it's another thing entirely to actually be in the thick of it, to be thrown in headfirst and have to sink or swim.”

Slade believes that you need to gain some experience with a startup or an established company before thinking about skipping college and starting your own business. However, it is also important for you to have a college degree if you wish to get a job.

Can College Degree Guarantee A Job?

A new study by Burning Glass Technologies, a labour analytics firm, reveals that most employers worldwide are now treating a college degree as basic eligibility criteria for their screening process to hire better employees. Matt Sigelman, CEO of Burning Glass Technologies, said “For an individual employer, that may be an understandable step. When everybody does it, however, this becomes a trend that could shut millions of Americans out of middle-skill, middle-class jobs.”

The trend has been rather significant in fields where college degree was not traditionally required for employment. In fact, many organisations are looking for the right candidates with a bachelor’s degree even if that makes the recruitment process more challenging and difficult. According to the authors of the research, employers are depending on college degree as a recruitment filter which may or may not be related to the specific skills required for the role.

So What Should You Do?

In this scenario, earning a bachelor’s degree becomes more important for you even if you wish to become an entrepreneur. Pursuing an online diploma in business will not only help you to earn a recognised qualification, but it will provide you ample scope to do a full time job at a start-up or an established organisation in your chosen field. Once you have acquired adequate experience and feel you are ready to head out on your own, you can rely on your business education to establish your own business.

The truth is skipping college might be a good idea for you if you wish to be an entrepreneur, but skipping higher education altogether can cost you dearly. I would suggest that you enrol for an online higher education programme and earn some relevant experience simultaneously. This will provide you a firm platform for your future start-up.

What Do You Think? 

Would you opt for college or do you think starting your business now is a better idea? Let us know your views, concerns and opinions. We would love to hear from you.

Monday, 15 September 2014

Are Learners More Interested in Traditional Courses?

Online education has made learning more engaging, interactive, accessible and affordable. It is perhaps for these reasons that many learners from around the globe are now opting to study online, instead of traditional classroom learning. Although online learning offers several benefits to the learners, but there is a learning curve and attaining efficiency is an ongoing process.

Providing Enhanced Learning Opportunities

It is imperative that our students stay in the educational system in order to make sure that everyone can access education that will enhance their effectiveness in today’s competitive world. Moreover, after primary and secondary education students need to worry about rising tuitions and growing student debt if they wish to pursue higher education. This requires that we seriously consider how to deliver and offer better learning opportunities for our students, especially regarding web-based learning.

Is Traditional Learning Better?

According to a recent study by researcher Lamont A. Flowers of Clemson University, in-class science courses apparently provided better learning gains to students than science courses offered by online distance learning. The findings of the study, which reveal growing interest of students in traditional learning, were published in the latest issue of Black History Bulletin. Remarkably, African-American learners pursuing traditional science courses claimed higher learning gains as compared to students pursuing online science courses.

The objective of the research was to evaluate the impact of online learning and discover the perceived learning outcomes of African-American students in science courses. The study was sponsored by a donation from the National Science Foundation, offered to Clemson University by Fayetteville State University.

The lead author of the study, Lamont A. Flowers, said, “Given the dramatic shift in the way that many postsecondary institutions now offer educational programs to students, it is imperative that we examine the effects of online distance-education programs on student outcomes.” Prof Flowers is the Executive Director of the Charles H. Houston Center for the Study of the Black Experience in 
Education at Clemson.

Cognitive Effects of Online Education

The researchers claimed that the growth of online courses in mathematics, engineering, technology and science disciplines creates challenge for the higher study community to analyse the efficiency of online distance courses on the learning outcomes of students. Flowers added “It is imperative that researchers continue to conduct studies that employ rigorous procedures to examine the cognitive effects and educational impact of online distance education experiences institutional types, including historically black colleges and universities.”

The study accepts that teaching online involves more than just delivering study materials to learners digitally and performing virtual sessions. However the researchers suggest that online educators “may need to incorporate innovative instructional designs that enhance student-faculty interaction in online courses.”

Flowers further commented “The statistical results indicate that faculty should develop strategies to ensure that online courses provide similar learning gains as traditional face-to-face courses by utilizing instructional approaches and educational technologies to strengthen online distance education.”

The study suggests that online students have as much to learn from these courses as the educators have to learn about teaching in a digital environment. The key to learning successfully online is proper communication and incessant exchange of ideas between students and faculty.

What do you think about online education? Would you prefer digital learning or would you stick with traditional methods? Feel free to share your opinions, views and concerns. We would love to hear from you.