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Pursing an online MBA program is preferred to traditional or on- site learning for various reasons, some of which are most obvious. Online learning, also called e-learning, was introduced to help advance education for students who preferred not to attend traditional classes. E-learning has a number of advantages over the on-site mode of learning. These are some of the major advantages associated with this mode of learning.
- Lower costs of learning
- Flexibility in terms of degrees offered, and the time one can set aside for studying
- There are more courses or degrees offered
- It reduces the costs of hiring tech support personnel
- Students can study at their own leisure and from any location. This explains the mobility of studies for such students.
- It helps save time by avoiding traffic problems and adverse weather changes etc
The University of Phoenix (UoP) is an example of a school that has taken the e- learning in most cases especially its MBA program. UoP as it usually called is a large institution which has taken distance learning across the globe to another level. Students in its MBA program for example includes working professionals who want to advance their career, students who are getting new careers, as well as for promotional reasons at work. On – site learning or the brick and mortar which has been the more traditional classroom setting consumes time and space which is a business asset that should be disregarded with utmost importance especially in today’s business world where the two are hard to come by. In most cases, its classes are held at the customer’s site which has the disadvantage of limiting the number of students who attend the class at any given time. For an instructor to teach a large number of students, he or she will be forced to hold multiple classes so as to accommodate the number of students that are there. This is a big disadvantage compared to an MBA program because it is an act that is very hectic to the tutor.
The University of Phoenix is a learning institution based in Phoenix, Arizona. It is an accredited university with both online and campus classes, with around 420,700 undergraduate students, 78,000 graduate students and over 200 campuses. Its founder John Sperling’s main purpose was to help working adult students stand out in the public since he felt that they were treated as invisible and second class students. Today the university has the majority of students studying online and several from other countries. This has made it easier for students to learn while they work and from different locations. Business students from the university have an opportunity to express their talents in team learning forums as well as class forums. Leadership is encouraged in the online setting although students never meet one on one. (Hall, 2008).
Online MBA program is not targeted for the entire public simply because there are students who prefer to be in the traditional brick and mortar classroom. Most institutions in the world and especially the developing economies encourage students and teacher relationship. This encourages the teacher to know their students better and therefore the same can help them in their areas of weakness. The main focus group for the e-campus or online learning is the working professionals who have no time to attend traditional classes and yet want to further their studies and increase their problem solving skills. Such are like parents who have to tend to their families, professionals who travel now and then and yet need to update their careers as well as seek promotions at work. Such is the target group for the online MBA students. The globe is well equipped with internet as opposed to the brick and mortar classes and by reason of the same; this e-learning is more effective for any student in any part of the world who is in need of learning and advancing their technical as well as touch base with what students from the rest of the world are doing. Online learning encourages global mindset where students in the same class discuss issues that surround their economy which equips the student faster than those in the traditional classroom. Students are better enlightened than those learning from the traditional methods making them more marketable. E- Learning students from UoP greater access to the library which is provided online. The quantity and quality of materials available makes them advance in problem solving skills than those in the brick and mortar classroom.
Description of Competitors
The University of Phoenix has many competitors. As long as any institution offers online learning is a competitor. This competition is basically based on the number of graduates that graduates from a particular institution, availability and accessibility of online learning and how effective it is when it comes to the performance of the students. Kaplan University and Devry University are some of the major competitors of UoP that offer e-learning. For instance, Kaplan University holds commencement for 2,300 graduates earning online degrees. The University currently serves more than 26,000 online and on-ground students with support centers in south Florida, Chicago and Phoenix. More campuses are embracing this new mode of learning since it has proven to be very effective and less time consuming. Due to this fact more competition is anticipated in the future also due to the fact that technology has made such invention very user friendly. Graduates from such institutions are greatly and highly regarded since they have proven to very effective and they are able to do different tasks at the same time and produce fantastic results. (Pro Quest, 2011)
Description of Service
This mode of learning is easily accessible because it only requires one to be connected to the internet which is readily available in all the states in the country and it is cheap. This lowers the cost greatly not mentioning the fact that there so many cyber cafés all over making it very accessible. Since some facilities like the library are also offered in the online learning it saves the time that one had to go to the library and locate a book. You may also want to compare different books at the same time and the Online Public Access Catalogue (OPAC) enables you to do it faster and locate books from other libraries which may not necessarily be located in the same location in the institution. Research work is made easy especially when one is required to collection of data. The data is more accurate especially if it is in the form of a group discussion because the students are not in one location as oppose to indoor learning and this gives a more accurate finding or projection. Now with the introduction of modems this means that you can access the internet anywhere in the country. Due to the fact that it is readily available, it gives the students flexibility to do other things and still be able to advance or pursue their careers. One disadvantage of its services is that the users can only be able to do online learning as long as they are computer literate. For those who are illiterate, poses a great challenge to learn. Since our market target is the young working professionals, this is an advantage because most of them are computer literate and are familiar with computer even at their workplace. (Anderson, 1990)
E-Learning is generally cheap but it has a high fixed cost. In order to set up an online learning and make it function effectively is not cheap. This is one of the hindrances to many institutions and also the maintenance bit of this kind of learning is also expensive. An institution should ensure that the equipment is functioning effectively in order not to inconvenience those involved. Time is money and when such services are not provided in time, it can go a long way in ruining people’s schedules and due to different time zones and different activities that an individual is involved in can bring about unnecessary inconveniences. The set up and maintenance services hence require experts and this also incurs more labor cost. The distribution of the same or in other words variable cost is lowered once the facility is set up. In the long run we reduce the cost and profit is maximized since more people especially those doing their master’s degree program prefer this kind of learning. In terms of publicizing, this mode of learning becomes easy, cheaper and very effective since as the number of students increase, you can be able to pass across any message and it reaches a lot of people in a split second. The fact that you don’t have to set up an institution in a particular location in order to give people an opportunity to learn is a thing of the past. With e-learning all that you are required to do is just login to the internet and you are good to go. By login you can attend classes, have a discussion or even do an examination. (Mackay, 2006)
Description of Location
E-learning is most effective in the urban areas as opposed to the rural areas where such kinds of equipment are not readily available. Since people in the urban areas live on a fast moving lane, it calls for a fast moving education too. Due to the kind of growth that is experienced in the city through migration, classrooms become congested and to reduce such problems from occurring, e-learning comes in handy to solve such a problem. His also reduces movement within the city and as a result a reduction in our road congestion. Time wasted to move from the office to an institution is not an issue any more. This also gives the student time to relax especially when driving is not in the question when one has to drive all the way from work to school. This is a great advantage to advance your education especially for home base mothers who may not be able to learn in brick and mortar kind of setting since the only free time they can be able to get is between the activities they undertake during the day when the children are at school or in the case of infants, when they are sleeping. Some students who are more advanced in age can feel a sense of inferiority when they are put in a class of students who may appear to be half their age. This kind of inferiority or a sense of embarrassment is not experienced in e-learning because the students are not in the same room and they cannot be able to see eye to eye unless one chooses to do so. In the actual sense, e-learning is not limited by distance. As long as anyone can be able to login in to the internet he is able to experience e-learning. The payments can still be made online and this means that there is no queuing in the banking lobbies hence security is enhanced because there is no handling of money. The transaction bit of it is the only one that is required.
In terms of saying money, e-learning is saves a lot of money. It is way cheaper than the sit-in way of learning. All the taxes incurred through putting up an institution and the space required to build such facilities is reduced greatly. E-learning is on the rising demand especially for those who can’t get time to attend their classes in classrooms. This kind of demand is most times not met because the numbers of institutions that offer online learning are not so many and some courses are not offered online. This makes some institutions to be more populated than others. Yet, if all the campuses could be able to offer e-learning, the number of students would be distributed evenly all around the country. This kind of learning is an advantage since the working professionals gain promotions in their work place once a person graduates. This makes them to be assets to their companies since now that they are equipped with knowledge; they are able to do more in their jobs. This in turn equips the company with trained personnel who are very educated and well knowledgeable in their area of profession making them more competitive in the job market. In some cases, one may want to attend a particular institution based on the fact that the institution offers quality education and produces quality graduates. This also comes down to preference where someone prefers to join a particular institution instead of another but is limited by distance. The cost of travelling to another country and the hustle involved in getting a visa is eliminated by e-learning where this need can be met effectively. (Vaughan 2007)
Summary and Implementation
E-learning has the advantage of been easy to implement although setting it up usually pose a very big challenge. Internet has made this type of learning easy and readily available to everyone in the globe. It is effective, cheap to access and very reliable. These factors make distant learning very realistic and affordable to many people around the world especially among the working professions and home based parents. It enables the technical re-use of the learning or teaching materials because they are electronically based. This makes it easier for the learners and teachers to access the learning materials unlike the on-site mode of learning. With the advancement of technology and the increase of so many responsibilities, this kind of learning is the way forward to achieving career goals and making the best out of the limited time that seem to be never enough. And since the merits supersede the demerits, I believe that e-learning should be initiated and embraced as much as the brick and mortar mode of learning.
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