Monthly Archives: March 2014

Online Learning can Give Nigerian Students a Winning Edge in their Career

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In Nigerian job scenario, today, employers reportedly prefer candidates with foreign degrees. The extent of such expectation has become such that a foreign bachelor’s degree holder is more preferable to them to a candidate with Nigerian master’s degree holder. No wonder, a huge craze for foreign degrees have become obvious targets for Nigerian students.

Foreign Degrees are Tough to Achieve

But, foreign degrees attained from renowned institutions is not that easy. Let alone the expensive budget for foreign education, reputed universities have tough benchmark of admission tests, which are not so easy to crack. From both these respects, Nigerian students face massive hindrance to attend degree level education from prestigious foreign universities. The native education standard in Nigeria is nowhere to stand up to the international standard.

Expense is Pretty High

And, in economically developing country like Nigeria majority people do not have that financial sufficiency to afford the cost of foreign universities. Moreover, there are several other costs related to foreign education. Travel and transportation cost, costly living on a foreign land, expenses for immigration formalities, and several other sundry expenses make the amount considerably large.

Find the Easy Way Out

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So, Nigerian students have different hurdles to attend foreign universities for academic as well as financial reasons. But, they do not have to be demoralised for that. With internationally recognised reputed universities of educationally advanced nations devising online distance learning courses to be delivered to the students all over the world, Nigerian students are now at vary easy and comfortable situation to take massive advantages of this.

Flexible and Comfortable Effort

Besides, when a Nigerian student enrol in any online course and study online, he/she becomes entitled to enjoy certain characteristic benefits of online education. Among them, the first and foremost is the issue of flexibility. Enrolling in an online degree course, Nigerian students can pursue foreign university course from their homeland. What they need is just simple piece of gadgets like tablets or laptops with the internet connection. And, they are ready to continue their course programmes.

That is not all; the advantages of studying online include very flexible class schedules. Due to 24/7 availability of course materials and pre-recorded lectures these students can set their convenient timing for studying and attending the classes.

Work Experience Parallel to Study

This unbelievable liberty of timing is a great advantage that Nigerian students can best utilise to their favour by involving into relevant works for practical experience alongside their academic knowledge. Practical work experience is considered nowadays as the real bonus point to impress any employer.

Learning in Global Setting

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The live group discussions, live classrooms through virtual learning environment not only let Nigerian students to get familiar with world class education, but also provide them the opportunity to be assimilated with the multicultural factors through the international students from different ethnicities and socio-cultural bases.

The advantages of studying online also include the incredibly low fee structure, apart from the huge savings these students can make by not travelling to and staying in the foreign countries. An online degree can be studied with up to 60% less fees than that of an on-campus degree.

Plus, this magic combination of learning and earning prepares Nigerian students for unrivalled job possibilities in international level. Their proficiency over communication and computer operating efficiencies grown in the process of tech-based learning really give them a winning edge in their job search.

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Nigerian University System Must Recover from its Long-term Downturn

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After the 20th Nigeria Economic Summit (NES) called off, having cultivated lots of aspects of Nigerian education today, the main focus settled on the total refurbishment of Nigeria’s University system. And, university system is pointed out rightly as the fundamental source to national development, and identified as the source of generating high-level manpower for the nation’s needs.

The fundamental problem diagnosed, however, is the substandard educational standard that is prominent in university system in Nigeria. And, one of the main reasons of its being not up to the mark is the lack of technological involvement in education

Several Issues Playing Dominant

Then, there are the issues of disgruntlement among university employees regarding various unfulfilled demands like salaries, allowances, infrastructural developments etc. The ill effects of such grudging dissatisfaction among the employees have been prominent in the last strike that lasted nearly four months. This kind of situations mirrors the disturbing and thereby unproductive educational outcome in Nigerian higher education.

If you go deep into searching the root of problems Nigerian university system is today facing, you will find a whole series of issues behind it. There are poor funding, outdated curriculum, poor infrastructure, issues of university autonomy, constant student and industrial unrest, which do not let the nation’s higher education sector to rejuvenate all anew.

Education became Poor in Quality and Irrelevant in Employability

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 If you calculate the growth in the number of universities, it is indeed quite satisfactory compared to 1960s when the nation had only 4 universities. But, quality of learning and level of graduates have deteriorated drastically. The scenario is such that employers are continuously pointing out the uselessness of existing curricula with respect to industrial demand. The comparative contrast with the universities in the U.S. and the U.K reveals how Nigerian university system is lagging behind, and how the relevant curricula applied by the universities of these developing countries are contributing to the socio-economic developments of the nations.

Measures for Recovery

If Nigeria really wants to replenish its lost educational level and further progress to it, substantial measures need to be taken.

  • First of all, thorough funding has to be done for the developments in institutional infrastructures like lecture halls, laboratories, student accommodation etc.
  • Selection process for the lecturers should follow international benchmark, so that higher education can maintain a good standard.
  • Curricula have to be redesigned according to actual needs of industries.

But, seeing the prevalent situations here, all these expectations seem too ideal to be realised. Political instability and lack of care in education sector have led university system of Nigeria into a phase where it sees a total negativity.

Yet, to the best of students’ interest the nation can take more help from international universities of developed nations. For financially humble country like Nigeria, international university education may appear a bit unaffordable. So, Nigerian students can take extensive benefits of online distance education offered by the prestigious universities of educationally advanced countries like the UK and the US. Pursuing online degrees offered by these reputed universities, Nigerian students can save a whole lot of resources by not having to stay on a foreign land. They simply can access to their course from the comfort of home, with simple gadgets like a laptop, tablet or smartphone with the internet connection. With these universities Nigeria can see a ray of hope to reach to a satisfactory standard in education, and thereby satisfactory standard in the nation’s all-round developments.

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Students’ Learning Style Plays a Crucial Role in Online Education

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According to a study conducted in the month of January, about 52 percent of more than 1000 adults, who took part in the survey, said that they believe hands-on training is the best learning way.

On personal note, when I took the online master’s program in English, most of my time was spent on reading, reading, a test and more reading.

But when I look back, I wish I had chosen a program that put more emphasis on video tutorials, interaction with fellow students and recorded lectures.

Being a strong reader, I was able to achieve the degree but for someone who believes in interactive experience, the learning process might be painful, as such courses do not offer any hands-on experience.

The 2014 Learning in America survey reveals that majority of the adult population today believe in a more interactive approach to learning.

The study was commissioned by Everest College and released in the month of January. It was found that about 52 percent of above 1000 adults surveyed believed that hands-on-training is the best learning method. The next most popular learning option was watching visual presentations while textbook reading, collaborative study, watching videos, learning through teaching others, using the internet and listening to a lecture followed as other popular options.

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According to John Swartz, regional director of career services for Everest College, a for-profit institution managed by Corinthian Colleges Inc, “What this survey is showing is people crave interactivity and engagement,” 

However, it is not clear if the online programs are receiving the message.
Ideally, most online learning programs are designed to serve a wide range of learning styles and preferences, such as integrating different media tools like video chats, white board demonstration, podcasts and films alongside reading.

Vernon C. Smith, special consultant to the provost for online education programs at Mount St. Mary’s College, says that the ideal world is a far-fetched dream, as only a few colleges are using all the learning tools at their disposal.

He further adds, “Most institutions are not at that level of reflection. For a while it was just ‘Get your course online’ because the demand was so high. Now we are getting into a new era of sophistication for students. It’s not just about accessibility – it’s about the quality of the experience.”

I advise prospective students to do their research well before time to ensure the needful experience, as not all online programs serve to the learning preferences of everyone.

While visual learners should make sure that their courses incorporate video, learners who believe in interpersonal interaction should ensure of lots of engagement with fellow students.

Before choosing the particular program, learners should understand its strengths. A large number of institutions today offer orientation programs to let students understand the courses beforehand. Good institutions allow students to understand the technology involved in the education process so they can know all about the lessons.

Some students already enrolled in online courses regret not doing more research into the program to make sure that the material was given to them in different ways. Though the courses are very engaging and cater to various learning preferences but the heavy reading and light interaction leave them unimpressed.

However, even if the class is not well-suited to the learning style, students should not lose their all hope. Dedicated students make their own road to success even in the most taxing circumstances.

Hence, prospective online learners should research well and sign up for the course only when they are satisfied that it suits their learning style.

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