By Professor Zaheer Hamid, Academic Director at MANCOSA private higher education institution
Distance education popularly known as correspondence education in the 1980’s was commonly understood as an individual learning from home using printed study materials. Perhaps a bland and uninspiring learning journey, however many a person pursued this form of education due to limited opportunity to higher education, lack of funds for post school education and because they needed to work whilst advancing their education. Fast forward – 2020; The distance education model of learning has been transformed to promise a very rich and rewarding learning experience – the two are literally incomparable.
This transformation was precipitated by emerging educational pedagogies, more reliable and affordable technology and the opening of the global education market. The most influential element though for this transformation is perhaps a simpler one to understand- the increasingly discerning student who seeks individualized service and support, who demands freedom of choice, who desires flexibility in learning and who expects a competitive and globally relevant learning experience.
The increasingly discerning student acknowledges that learning is a lifelong process and that now, more than ever, education is inextricably linked to one’s career progress, especially so in the Knowledge economy.
As the global demand for education rises and the pressure to reduce the cost of education increases, educational brands are forced to re-evaluate what it means to remain relevant in an increasingly competitive sector. Distance education has risen from a peripheral market position to pole position in a matter of a few years and it is hardly surprising to see many more students studying at their own convenience, in their own space.
Successful distance education Institutions invest significantly in researching and designing learning experiences which facilitate success and exposure to the new world of work. They undertake meaningful employer and student engagement to ensure this input drives educational design. Such institutions foster healthy partnerships with academic leaders, employers and best of breed technology leaders. These are agile learning organizations who invest their resources for impact. They create live ecosystems to promote advanced academic quality through collaboration, creativity, reflection and innovation in education. The outcomes of such initiatives manifest in the form of a graduate that is better prepared for the 21st century
WHAT IS THE EXPERIENCE LIKE?
A person studying a well-designed distance education programme enjoys flexibility in learning, has access to a range of rich online and offline learning resources, has access to a diverse pool of academics, enjoys personal student support service, has access to a range of synchronous and asynchronous learning opportunities, access to powerful and cognitive adaptive learning management systems as well as personal mentorship for development. Students develop through physical and virtual learning communities. Such learning communities are diverse (culture age, nationality, background) and students bring rich and unique experiences to a common space in an environment which promotes collaboration. The experience is often referred to as “the student’s journey” and progressive distance learning institutions spend considerable time and resources in ensuring that the “journey” is pleasurable and leads to the development of a holistic graduate – one that is able to remain agile and employable in the ever-changing labour market.
Graduates of high-quality distance education programmes develop a significant level of self-autonomy and a strong internal locus of control. They quickly develop the ability to manage competing priorities, possess good time management skills and are able to work in fluid and dynamic contexts. These attributes developed beyond the conventional knowledge areas provide a graduate with critical soft and cognitive skills required in the ever-changing world of work.
MANCOSA, a leading provider of management programmes through supported distance learning in Southern Africa, is ranked among the 10 of the best MBAs in Africa. A member of Honoris United Universities – the first pan-African private higher education network focused on nurturing the next generation of African leaders and professionals – Durban-based MANCOSA which has 12 learning centres offering 46 programmes serves as an innovation hub for executive education and postgraduate management programmes. A selection of Executive Education Short Learning Programmes is also offered to meet the requirements of professionals in both the private and public sectors.
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On behalf of:
Honoris United Universities
About Honoris United Universities
Honoris United Universities is the first and largest pan-African private higher education network committed to educating the next generation of African leaders and professionals able to impact regionally in a globalized world. Collaborative intelligence, cultural agility and mobile mind-sets and skills are at the heart of Honoris’ vision of higher education. Honoris United Universities joins the expertise of its member institutions to develop world-class African Human capital that is competitive in today’s fast-paced, demanding and increasingly digitized labor and start-up markets.
Honoris United Universities gathers a community of 45,000 students on 60 campuses, learning centres and via on-line, in 10 countries and 32 cities. The network counts 11 institutions: multidisciplinary universities, specialized schools, technical and vocational institutes, contact, distance and online institutions. Students have an opportunity to experience exclusive partnerships and exchange programs in more than 60 universities across Europe and the United States. Over 280 degrees are offered in Health Sciences, Engineering, IT, Business, Law, Architecture, Creative Arts and Design, Media, Political Science and Education.
Honoris United Universities. Education for Impact. www.honoris.net