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With the down turn in the economy the educational institutions get hit just as hard as the business sectors. Colleges and universities are forced to slash budgets, on-campus programs, 401K and even personnel. Now is the time for traditional education institutions to focus on digital alternatives.
Tips for Higher Ed Institutions:
- Focus on Distance Education! It has less overhead (both time and resources), it can reach more people; effectively making it a very profitable solutions for your institution.
- Get rid of Blackboard! Blackboard is a very costly and poorly designed solution that the majority faculty, students and IT Admins strongly dislike. I highly recommend checking out open source alternatives such as Moodle or the Sakai Project. Yes, initially out-of-the-box its not the prettiest solutions, but with a nice custom theme and integration of particular modifications you can have a very nice solution. With Moodle you can securely host all of your course and customize anything and everything internally. This will drastically reduce operating costs and cripling attachment to Blackboard.
- Get rid of general education classes taught on campus! These basic education courses are fairly mind numbing for professors to teach and these classes take up a lot of overhead. Your solution here is to create these courses in a digital format and put these classes online. This is especially effective for courses that will never change: Math, History, English, etc… 1 + 1 will always equal 2. This will result in on-campus students taking a hybrid approach to their education. They still attend courses in classrooms when needed, they have the flexibility to do their basics as they need and if your student is completely distance this just helps you build your program to reach more people.
- Proven Case Studies: University of Phoenix, Liberty University, etc… Everyone has heard about University of Phoenix and seen their advertisements. They have created a full working business model off of distance education. Liberty University (whether you agree or disagree with the principles of this school) has created an extremely profitable business model of offering distance education from 2nd Grade all the way through Doctorate Programs with an outreach outside of the United States.
“World of Warcraft, move over. The Army is preparing to invest millions into combat training games and systems, in a move to prepare its soldiers for battle.
The Army is investing $50 million into video combat training games and gaming systems over the next five years, in a move to prepare soldiers for battle.
Darwars Ambush is one of the games currently used by the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard, and Homeland Defense.”
Its amazing that the military sees the value in edutainment in a collaborative learning enviroment and is will to spend top dollar on it, but when you get to the corporate world people don’t necessarily see the value in investing in these type of technologies.
Ok, when most people here eLearning they associate it with boring computerized, voice-over PowerPoint presentations on sexual harassment. Sure its cheap to produce, but who really learns from these training products?
- Add humor
- Make the training interactive.
- Build a training community, so that learning continues after the training is done.
If you need some help with this or want to bounce some ideas off me, feel free to contact me.
Image courtsey of videocrab on Flickr.