Stellenbosch Open Day.

Book your seat for Stellenbosch’s Open Day on the 30th of January 2021. RSVP before the 27th of January 2021.

Online registrations close 15 March 2021. Register now.

Stellenbosch Open Day. Book your seat for Stellenbosch’s Open Day on the 30th of January 2021. RSVP before the 27th of January 2021. RSVP now.

Another Brick in the Wall?

Another Brick in the Wall

Most universities have reacted to the COVID-19 pandemic by going online with their teaching programmes.  This is part of their response to make teaching and the completion of the academic year a priority.  Students need to achieve their qualifications and enter the economy to start working and start making a contribution almost ‘at any cost’.

The common mood amongst academics suggests that this is temporary:- there will be a vaccine coming out soon and ‘things will get back to normal’.  Universities are notorious for their stickiness when it comes to changing the way in which they do things and it would be a pity if these institutions do not realise that there is not going to be a going back to normal and that they have an opportunity now to change and make the work they do super-relevant for the time we live in.

One of the universities in Africa used by the World Bank as an example of what universities should be functioning like in our time, is situated in Kigali.  It is a university most people have never heard of and they are unlikely to know about it except if doing a specific search for it and yet they have an extraordinary accomplishment to boast of – more than 80% of their graduates are employed within 6 months of completing their qualifications.  This statistic gets even more extraordinary when we consider the fact that almost their entire cohort is drawn from refugee camps in Rwanda – students from distressed backgrounds and with the minimum schooling.

Kepler University does not do the “normal” university curriculum and their VC says that “…if you can find it on Coursera or Wikipedia, we do not see that need to teach it.”

Finding it on these open sources and eliminating the content from your curriculum would leave most universities rather thin and bare in terms of the content they present to the students. In its place Kepler teaches in a way that eliminates the silos in which content get presented at most universities and they focus on teaching soft skills such as creativity, critical thinking, collaboration and problem solving.  These skills are being used as the vehicles for packaging the academic content in subject fields.  This, combined with a strong focus on experiential learning, helps to set the university apart and make of it a high achieving educational institution.

Later this month, from 11 to 13 December 2020, an important summit will be taking place in South Africa.  The members of Higher Education Leadership and Management (HELM) will be meeting to look at the role of universities in the post-COVID phase.  This is going to be an important opportunity to read what the prevailing mood is in the leadership structures of our universities.  The stated aim of the summit is to explore, not what happened in 2020, but what the higher education format of the future will be.  The organisers are explicit about the fact that they understand that we will never be able to see our universities return to the previous, pre-COVID state and that the summit will have to produce some answers to what the changed profile of higher education institutions will look like as they emerge from 2020.

Will they be able to deliver on precepts that will fundamentally change higher education and the way in which graduates are being shaped?

What will happen to South Africa’s matrics?

what will happen to SA matrics

Johannesburg, September 2020 – Grade 12 is the most critical year of any learner’s academic life; the bridge between secondary and higher education, as it were. For the more than 700 000 students enrolled in matric, this final year has become far more than a challenge. With Covid-19 stalking the corridors, their futures are looking decidedly dubious.

Ten million. That’s how many African students have been scrambling for a solution to an academic year gone haywire, according to UNESCO.

Add to this the classrooms full of Grade 12 learners who were expecting to join older students on campus next year, and it’s clear that faculties around the country will be facing an enormous challenge during 2021 – but no more so than the learners who, eager to start on the path to their vocations, are left wondering how their year will proceed.

Higher Education, Science and Technology Minister, Blade Nzimande, has provided an answer of sorts, indicating that the academic year will start later than usual during 2021, giving schools time to complete their curricula.

Those institutions that have prepared students will find the disruptions take far less of a toll, on marks and emotional wellbeing alike. Going forward, the internet will play a more significant role in our learning than ever before. This isn’t, in fact, something new: according to Weforum.org, the trend was already in evidence well before the onset of the pandemic, with investment in ed-tech reaching $18.66 billion last year. These funds have helped to develop a variety of platforms, from apps to video conferencing tools, and from virtual tutoring to online learning software. Naturally, the use of these tools has grown exponentially since students were forced to stay out of their classrooms.

Students take around 40% to 60% less time to learn new concepts online, because they are able to customise their learning process to a time and pace that suits them. What’s more, Weforum.org cites research which reveals that retention of information learned online is 25-60% higher than the material which has been taught in a classroom – where retention stands at only 8-10%.

Those who were able to lay some groundwork ahead of time have successfully kept disruptions to a minimum. Students at the IMM Graduate School, for example, had a gradual learning curve consistent with skills development over the past number of years. This can be attributed to collective experience across areas of online learning that are likely to cause anxiety and understanding how to address them. For instance, a variety of communication channels between the institution and the students ensures that queries are tackled quickly, thereby helping to reduce stress. We were also able to adjust timelines very slightly so that the semester has not been disrupted.

From now on, it’s very likely that online learning will continue to be incorporated as part of a standard curriculum. The downside? Institutions which have had to adapt to online learning suddenly and abruptly may battle with the change – although, as digital natives, their students will most likely embrace it. The plus side? The next time there is a similar disruption – and there will most certainly be a next time – the education sector will be far better placed to face it.

The trend towards shorter, specific, skills-based courses in 2020.

The trend towards shorter specific skill-based courses in 2020

The first thing people associate with university degrees and diplomas is a guarantee of financial stability, but in recent times this association has been proven insufficient. Some employers are of the opinion that short course qualifications that are recent, relevant and specific of a person’s current skills requirements are of utmost important as an addition to a qualification which if received years ago may have become outdated.

While the demand for degree, diploma and higher certificate programmes hasn’t declined, there does appear to be an increase in demand for short courses and more specifically skills based online short courses.

What exactly is a short course? It is any non-accredited course offered by higher education institutions outside their formal structured undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. So, it doesn’t lead to a qualification on the Higher Education Qualifications Sub-framework (HEQSF), but it is typically more practical and will certainly equip you with the workplace-relevant knowledge and skills needed to land a new job or advance your career.

People of all ages take short courses, either as a knowledge refresh, or to learn something completely new. Even people with families and steady jobs do it to improve their skills.

Why are short courses more popular and what benefits do they hold?

Lower cost- short courses are prices much lower than for examples a three-year degree or diploma from a university or college. It also usually includes all costs like course notes and seldom required a textbook.

Flexibility and convenience- with deadlines looming and an overloaded r schedule, it’s a great feeling knowing you won’t fall behind with your work, because your study time is flexible. Most short courses are online which means you can work from any location and at any time.

Fills the gap – short courses are a great way to fill the gaps in your knowledge and gives you an advantage when it comes to job promotions. Not to mention it gives you confidence to speak up and participate in meetings about topics that you previously shied away from.

Test run – short courses give you the opportunity to test a career path to see what type of skills and knowledge it requires before studying a full-time degree or changing careers altogether

Stay on top of the game – short courses are relevant, current and specific helping you to get to and remain at the forefront of your field.

Employable – It makes you more employable giving you skills that could qualify you for an entry level position.

Turn your hobbies into a career – Short courses can be a way of discovering new hobbies or turning your current hobbies into something more. Remember short courses aren’t always about serious stuff like business management or project management. For example, the IMM Graduate School offers a short course in developing your personal brand.

Information retention – Short courses help to retain information better because they make use of different techniques such as visual aids, videos, lecture videos and scripts.

Revision – Recorded lecture videos can be used as revision.

Finally, it kills boredom – When you have lots of spare time on your hands it is always be a good idea to do a short course. You will benefit greatly from any course that you do.

Popular short courses include business management, project management, marketing management and social sciences.

What does IMM bring to the table?

We are a distance learning institution with students from more than 20 different countries around the world. You can complete your masters, postgraduate, degree, diploma and higher certificate through our institution.

The important part is that we have an amazing online short course and express course programme designed for easy access and comfortable learning. You can choose to do these before signing up for one of our degree programmes, while studying or for top up skills after your graduate.

Our short course programme includes the following:

  • 16 short courses in marketing and advertising.
  • 5 short courses in supply chain and export management.
  • A general short course on personal branding.
  • And 20 one-week express courses for only R475 each.

Coming soon is a course in Project Management.

We have also developed a unique licence package option that allows businesses to buy bulk online short course packages for their staff. Choose any of our online short courses and save money.

Nelson Mandela once said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”.

So, if you are aiming for that promotion, need to keep up to speed or just have some time to kill then short courses are a great way to expand your skill set. Visit our website for more information on our short and express courses https://www.imm.ac.za/onlineshortcourses/

Online Learning and it’s Geographies

Online Learning and its Geographies web

The presence of geography in information has an integral reality about it which is not always recognised and appreciated.  The reasons for this are myriad, but the extent to which the geography is unequivocal in its presence, ingrained in the context, and uninvited but still impossible to exclude, have made it seem like a seamless part, forever poised at the edges of our thinking but more often ignored and waiting in vain for the curtain call of recognition.

The geography of the moment or of the experience is, however, superbly significant, whether we understand or recognise it or not.  Your favourite restaurant attracts you because of all the things you see, partake in and experience while you are there enjoying the moment.  Not much thought is devoted to the core reality of its geography:- the physical factors around its location, the area which surrounds it, its physical accessibility, and the atmosphere dependant on its location rather than the managed ambiance.  These often ignored realities are mostly left to be forever poised on the invisible edge in spite of their benign significance.  Take them away though, and the restaurant could as well close its doors. The tempered sodality of these intangibles eludes our everyday concern and yet it is a core to what we know, do, and experience every day.

Geographies of human experience was called, as a research context, into the limelight by the research done by Anderson (2004) who found that the women he interviewed during his walking interviews were significantly influenced in the responses they offered to questions asked of them by the physical environment they were walking through.  Further research into this phenomenon revealed that the responses were so geographically dependant that it was even influenced by the buildings they were passing during these walking interviews.  The findings from this research led to the “Walking Interview” becoming an accepted scientific method for conducting of qualitative research.

Anderson (2004) explored how a place and the geographical context it provides, could lend understanding and insight into the lives of the individual the research is focused on.  The “Walking Interview” method of qualitative research is based on accepting that our understanding of people and their lives will be enriched when we know more about them and their circumstances.  The walking interview illustrated beyond any doubt that the content and quality of the conversations people have is influenced by the area they walk in and by the geographic realities present in the area.

When we think of online learning, we often think of this as a clean process; give them access, give them study materials, and let them write the assessments.  Fairly straightforward and simple.

In a recent Daily Maverick (2020) article, the esteemed journalist Stephen Grootes, offered exactly that point of view as a launching pad for the fatally unvaried argument seeping into our national narrative that the entire COVID-19 event and its impact on the education system could be cleansed of all negatives by simply allowing the students to stay at home out of harm’s way and with Internet access to jumpstart their consignment to academic excellence without anything else that needs doing.

Graham, de Sabbata and Zook (2015) significantly pointed out that “… geographic augmentations are much more than just representations of places: they are part of the place itself; they shape it rather than simply reflect it”.  The authors proceeded to suggest that there is an undeniable fusing of the availability and access to informational materials with the spatial realities in which this fusing occurs and which has a major impact on it.

This is much more than just a significant theoretical statement which may be left for exploration of academics who may be inclined to something which, to the man in the street, may seem like “… an interesting but so what?” bit of theory.  The rub of all of this lies in the unstated but significantly powerful extrapolation which tells us that the physical, material places we find ourselves in could unalterably affect our learning about and understanding of the world we live in.  This is an insight which is much more than what we have always known and said when we referred to “Man is shaped by the circumstances of his upbringing”.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had many side-effects and one of these is the extent to which it has exposed rampant and debilitating inequality in the country.  The environment in which pupils and university students have to do their studies does not tell us anything that may aid the quality of our night rest.

The students that Mr. Grootes wants to “… go online and get on with it…” have significant geographical realities which are keeping them from doing just that.

The geography of place – South Africa is a place where the term “15 people to a room” has nothing to do with describing an intimate cocktail party at some suburban dwelling, but rather the daily living realities of a major part of our population.   Imagine not only living under those conditions but having to study, read, think, write, and produce wholesome academic musings in it.

The geography of language – English is the language of teaching and learning is our country.  It is not the language of the soul of our country.  For most of the students, this could be a third or even fourth language. English is primarily idiomatically stressed. It is not easy for anyone who did not come to it at their mother’s knee.  Opportunities for misreading and misunderstanding are myriad – there could be a mere backward movement of stress for a verb to become a noun and an act to become a thing.  Your best intention at producing a meaningful statement could, at a stroke, become refuse – an insurmountable pile of garbage.

The geography of content – we know very well that we assume the meaning of content based on our experience and exposure to our own reality.  When the reality we have been exposed to is mired in depraved existence amongst others who have not had it any better, our exposure to anything approaching the universality of a common understanding of the academic theory we are exposed to is irrevocably compromised.  ‘I think, therefore I am’ could perhaps be less of a universal statement of truth than ‘I experience, therefore I am’.

The geography of participation – learning may be primarily about the use of the written word, but it is in engaging with the written word that we become tolerant of the need to relate to the written word and what it tells or teaches us.  The distance learner needs the online experience to be augmented for the learning to become meaningful and relatable.  There is no “get online and get on with it” here.  It is in sharing what is read and extrapolating the facts into personal meaning through discussion and application that the learning becomes meaning.  This is where the quality of the online experience is influenced by the simple equation – is it through online learning or with online learning?

Learning and education in general are more than the sum of its parts.  Effective learning and education is a concept which propels this statement into the realm of the hyperbole.  It has, at the base of its requirement and core to even approaching the understanding of its place in our world, the currently woefully inadequate participatory conceptualisation of civil society which dominates its being – it is essentially about the wholehearted and unconditional support of civil society and public participation.  It is not at all something that could be parcelled out to students to get on with.

Anderson, J. (2004). “Talking whilst walking: A geographical archaeology of knowledge”. Area, 36 (3), 254-61.

Graham, M., de Sabbata, S. and Zook, M. A. (2015). “Towards a Study of Information Geographies: (Im)Mutable Augmentations and a Mapping of the Geographies of Information”. Geo Geography and Environment 2(1). Available form here [Accessed on 31 July 2020] 

Grootes, S. (2020). “Online learning to the rescue” The Daily Maverick. Available at <https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2020-05-06-online-learning-to-the-rescue/#gsc.tab=0> [Accessed on 30 July 2020]

Distance Education Rises to the Occasion during the CoVID-19 lockdown

Distance Education Rises to the Occasion during the CoVID-19 lockdown

Distance Learning, the Keeper of Higher Education during a Worldwide Pandemic

The challenges facing institutions of Higher Learning during the CoVID-19 lockdown have left many with no option but to turn to online learning to avoid disruptions to learning and teaching programmes across the globe.  Fortunately, the IMM Graduate School has not been caught off guard during the Coronavirus pandemic, nor has it been left scrambling to keep learning and teaching going. For the most part it is business as usual.

We have already spent the past several years, implementing cutting edge online learning principles, and as such “going online” has meant minimal disruption in our learning environment designed and built to encourage optimal student engagement for critical thinking and problem solving. For a number of years already, we have been embracing technology to provide opportunities for students who would otherwise not have the opportunity to study.

We have also during this time considered, monitored and reviewed various aspects impacting learning and teaching in the online environment to find what works best for distance students. In so doing, we have been able to fine-tune the online learning and teaching experience by acting on the feedback of all role players to our digital learning and teaching environment.

The attitude that online learning is a ‘watered down’ version of ‘real’ education couldn’t be further from the truth and such attitudes have the potential to compromise quality. Higher Learning Institutions, Industry and students all need to reflect on their own attitudes to online education. More and more, online learning is proving to be the better solution.

Digital learning and teaching do have some challenges, but also comes with many added advantages and provides a valuable alternative to traditional classroom-based models. Given current learning conditions (in our lockdown situation), South African Learning Institutions, students and teaching staff are being forced to become familiar with the digital education space. Just as with every other industry in 2020, education can never go back to what it was just a few short weeks ago.

Going online is not only a matter of, uploading the ‘paper version’ onto a learner management system and continuing with learning and teaching activities as would be the case in a classroom. There are a number of important points of consideration in digital learning and teaching.

For students who are not used to distance and/or online learning, social distance could present a challenge.  Distance institutions are acutely aware of this and any distance institution worth their salt will build mechanisms into their courses to reduce the sense of distance and isolation and to create a sense of community among students who are geographically far removed from each other. For Students at residential universities catapulted into distance learning, the sense of distance and isolation may be more acute.

Also important is how the rapport between lecturer or tutor and student is initiated and maintained. In a distance learning environment, there is not the luxury of sitting in a group, discussing challenges. Several mechanisms to create a sense of community need to be built into an online course. Creating an online social presence of the lecturer goes a long way to making students feel more secure. Many are turning to webinars as an alternative to the contact class. But you need to consider, how to adapt learning and teaching in webinars to ensure that students are meaningfully engaging with their study material and their teachers?  In the classroom, teaching staff tend to use lecturing as the method of teaching.

Then there is the question of how study material needs to be adapted to make sure students are fully engaged in the absence of a regular contact class. Learning material must be designed to encourage active learning. Technology provides diverse opportunities to design learning resources which are almost 3D in nature and most certainly more interactive than textbooks and class notes.

The digital space has opened up a whole world of opportunity for authentic real-world learning and teaching that produces 4th Industrial Revolution work-ready graduates, whether the world is in crisis or not. The IMM Graduate School has embraced these opportunities, and is continuing to provide fully accredited, internationally recognised distance education during the lockdown and beyond.

Sunday Ted Talk – A guide to collaborative leadership

In Lorna Davis’ insightful TED Talk, she explains how our idolisation of heroes is holding us back from solving big problems and why we as a civilization need to rely on each other to make real changes in our society. Davis also gives us real-world examples of the heroes that already walk amongst us.

Sunday Ted Talk – Why gender-based marketing is bad for business

As effective as this marketing tactic is, Gaby Barrios explains why gender-based marketing is bad for business and consumers. Barrios explains that not only does it create gender stereotypes, but it doesn’t drive nearly as much business as we might think.  In this TED Talk, Barrios shows businesses how they can find better ways to reach customers and grow their brands. Watch her:

Sunday Ted Talk – Inside the mind of a master procrastinator

Watch Tim Urban’s hilarious TED Talk as he explains what goes on in the mind of an expert procrastinator. Follow Urban as he takes us on a journey through YouTube binges, Wikipedia rabbit holes and bouts of staring out the window, and a close up look at India. Urban encourages us to take a closer look at what we’re really procrastinating on, and why we should start improving our time management skills. Watch Urban’s TED Talk here:

 

Learnings move online: transforming the education sector

Learnings move online - transforming the education sector web

Technological innovation has changed more than just the way we live and work – it is also deeply impacting the way we learn. It’s hardly surprising then that, in their Global Shapers report, the World Economic Forum predicted that online learning is “the future of education”. LUCINDA JORDAAN talks to Dr Cecelia Rosa, Head of Teaching and Learning at IMM Graduate School.

While formal schooling systems have changed little over the past 300 years, the slow process of global synchronisation has sped up since the 1980s – and more so over the last decade alone. This has been exponentially aided by tech developments, which have changed not only the way in which learners engage with educational materials, but also how these materials are generated and distributed, and the processes used to evaluate outcomes.

Digital textbooks, gamified learning content and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are revolutionising how, when and where we learn. For countries that face serious educational challenges, like South Africa, digital education is providing vital solutions. India has already paved the way by investing some $33 million into integrating online resources into that country’s education system, with significant results.

A multi-billion dollar industry, online learning is hardly new to South Africa, where UNISA – one of the world’s largest distance learning institutions – has been operating for more than 140 years. Dr Cecelia Rosa, Head of Teaching and Learning at IMM Graduate School, and Managing Director of Graphanex Institute of Professional Handwriting Analysis, gained first-hand experience in online learning, having completed her degree, master’s and doctorate in education at UNISA.

“Online learning was very convenient for me: I have little patience sitting in a classroom and listening to people asking questions about topics that I felt had already been dealt with; I prefer to study on my own. On the other side of the coin, there are people who want and need that interaction,” notes Rosa.

Comparisons between the benefits of online versus face-to-face learning generally ended at the difference in personality and learning types: “There are basically two types of students: those who are Field-dependent, and have to see somebody’s face in order to cope with learning, and Field-independent students, who don’t need that, so online learning works for them,” says Rosa.

That distinction, she adds, has shifted as education offerings have evolved. “Now, online courses have a blended approach that works for both learning types, because it provides a little bit of both. Students are expected to be independent, and are provided with face-to-face interaction too.”

Today, online courses are not confined to the printed hand-outs of yesteryear: any course worth its accreditation is made up of a collection of webinars, online-collaboration tools, software that supports individually-paced learning, learning-management systems, and instant messaging and social networking. These, emphasises Rosa, are vital resources that are essential in classrooms, too. “If you don’t bring tech into class, even in a traditional environment, your students are disadvantaged,” she stresses.

Supporting real time interaction

Tech developments have greatly aided the online education revolution, not least by allowing for a significant support structure for students, explains Rosa. “When you develop a course for online use you need to include multimedia, so you bring the content into a real world context – to life, essentially. You also have continuous assessments, and there are discussion forums and online tutorials – students have the opportunity to converse with you, and with each other. Then of course, we use data analytics to monitor student behaviour and participation,” she explains.

“In the past, students would get static study guides and were expected to learn from that. But the introduction of ICT brings the course to life, and students are encouraged to actively engage with it,” adds Rosa, emphasising that student engagement is crucial to successful learning. “The only way the learning in any context is effective is if students actively engage with it, not by passively listening to a lecture. Actively engaging means to be asking questions, and finding the answers.”

Technology not only enhances teaching, it also allows for online teachers with more to offer, notes Rosa. “If students embrace the tech we have introduced, it will give them an edge when they study. In fact, online learning gives you an edge – it broadens perspectives because of the tech – and then of course, the lecturers are both academics and industry experts: they infuse life into the learning content, which is constantly updated. Students are then getting the theoretical basis, as well as the experiences of experts, which is current – so even a graduate knows what the world of work is like at that particular moment.”

Rosa, herself a ‘pracademic’ (academic with practical industry experience) believes strongly that “whoever is lecturing at any institution needs to have one foot in academia and the other in industry”.

Why it works

The convenience of studying online is probably the biggest driver in the rapid rate of enrolment in online courses – in South Africa and globally. This, and the growing need for people to improve and upskill themselves in the most convenient ways possible, acknowledges Rosa.

“We live in a knowledge economy globally, and it’s important to build up skills in the marketplace. We also live in a society where people want to do things quickly and efficiently, and online learning especially benefits people who are constantly on the move, working, have families and can’t sit in a classroom fulltime. So online courses are convenient, especially micro courses that can be completed during a lunch hour – Coursera, for example, offers numerous courses endorsed by credible universities.

Businesses and organisations, too, are buying into online certification as a training tool because “it’s more productive,” notes Rosa. “In the past, staff had to take days out of office for workshops and courses, which only served to hype them up for a short while, and then the effect disappears – now, it’s more productive for businesses to have their staff complete courses online.”

Cecelia Rosa’s tips for successful online learning

I think the first thing would be to research the institution, and whether it is accredited as there are many ‘fly-by-night’ offerings.

Then, question why you want to study, what the outcomes you want to achieve are when you do a course, and whether it will assist you in enhancing your career and work prospects.

Finally, embrace the tech to start with; at IMM we are developing our courses so students can access them anywhere, even on mobile phones, and actively engage with the content. If you don’t, you’ll be a mediocre student; successful, high achievers engage with, analyse and dissect the material, using cognitive approaches. Just reading and not questioning doesn’t make you marketable. The workplace environment is unpredictable and fluid, and to succeed in it, you need  to apply your learning and you can only do that by engaging with it.

What is online learning and is it for you?

What is online learning and is it for you?

When trying to balance work and family life, the thought of furthering your studies can be daunting. Online learning may be the answer! In this blog we explore online learning as a mode of studying towards a qualification.

Online learning, which is also known as correspondence learning, is a form of education where face-to-face interaction between students and lecturers is limited or sometimes non-existent. Students signed up for an online learning programme typically study from home, instead of physically attending classes at an institution.

This concept is far from new. In fact, according to a team of NASA scientists assembled by Post University, distance learning began as far back as 1892 when the University of Chicago created the first college-level distance learning program. Institutions offering distance learning courses initially relied on the postal system to send students material. Fortunately, improvements in technology now allows instructors to forward resources via email or via a dedicated website.

What makes online learning popular?

Online learning has become popular in South Africa, mainly due to its convenience and affordability. Students can work and study at the same time and since it’s more affordable than class-based education, students are still able to earn a living while studying.

Accessibility is another reason why this form of studying has become so popular over the past few years. Evaluations are carried out by means of written assignments, exams, and portfolios of evidence and study material is delivered to students via the post, courier, or the internet.

To compensate for the lack of physical interaction between students and instructors, academic support is provided through channels such as telephone, email, instant messaging. Some academic institutions offer student support centres for students wanting to attend workshops and tutor sessions.

The advantages of correspondence/online learning education

Probably the main advantage of online learning is that it allows you to plan your studies around your work and home life. There is also no age limit to who can take advantage of online learning but apart from that, the advantages of correspondence education include:

  • More students have access to quality education. Disability, family responsibility, and distance are often to blame for students not attending university but since there’s no need to travel anywhere, online learning enables students to study from home.
  • It’s more affordable. Students can save money by not travelling to and from campus.
  • Students can work and study at the same time. Students are able to study according to their own schedules.
  • Students can study at their own pace and won’t be under pressure to keep up with their classmates. They also won’t be held back by slower students and can choose how much time they would like to spend on each section of the course.
  • Finally, students will be able to develop valuable skills that will be useful in their personal lives as well. Self-discipline, a sense of responsibility, time management and independent thinking skills are among the skills you will learn via online learning.

On the other hand, there are some disadvantages to correspondence/online learning education. For one, the fact that you won’t be able to physically speak to an instructor or lecturer when you have a question. In addition, your interaction with other students will be limited. Online Learning institutions like the IMM Graduate School have put in place online support mechanisms to overcome these issues. These include weekly online sessions with module lecturers and chat forums whereby students can interact. Regardless of these challenges however, the advantages of online learning appear to far outweigh the disadvantages.

Is online learning right for you?

This mode of studying is a great option for those who want to further their studies without disrupting their current schedule and lives.

Online learning will suit you if:

  •   You have a disability that makes it difficult to travel and get around.
  •   You have time-consuming personal responsibilities or a young family.
  •   You live in a remote area far from a campus or other education facility.
  •   You have good time management skills.
  •   You can work independently without a lecturer checking up on you.
  •   You prefer to work on your own, at your own pace, and in the comfort of your own home.
  •   And you would still like to work while you study.

Online learning isn’t for everyone but if any of the above points apply to you, why not get in touch?

The IMM Graduate School is an online learning institution, allowing you to study from anywhere, with the added benefit of not having to attend classes on a daily basis. With the wide variety of courses and qualifications available at affordable prices, you can study remotely without breaking the bank.

Need more information? Visit the IMM website at www.immgsm.ac.za to submit an enquiry or call us on 0861 466 476 to find out more.