The walls are clearly breaking down as far as education is concerned and the web will be a significant carrier for education in the near future. Distance learning MBA programs have been around in India for some time now where students prepare from printed study material and meet over weekends at study centers. Education in cyber land has drawn a business figure like Jack Welch as well as our very own Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU).
Jack Welch, former Chief Executive of General Electric, has decided to invest money and lend his name to an MBA program at a Cleveland based university. Interestingly enough, Welch has lent his name to the program but will not be teaching any of the courses. Nearly all the coursework for the program at the Jack Welch Management Institute will be delivered online and the business icon believes that the program will definitely help people who want to hold their jobs and get an MBA at an affordable cost (the program sets a person back by just over $ 20,000).
Closer home, the Karnataka State Open University and IGNOU have also included web based learning in their courses. While the Karnataka Open University has tied up with University18 Business School to establish virtual classrooms, IGNOU has set up a six month online based course to train people looking to enter the BPO industry. IGNOU is also providing a mix of online and offline study materials for creative media arts courses. Xaviers Labour Relations Institute, Jamshedpur also provides an online course which students can access.
This method of education is an option that is gaining popularity. The distance learning MBA program is favoured by working professionals and the competition is lesser than that in a fulltime program. Part time MBA programs and distance learning programs serve the similar purpose of allowing people to study without giving up work. It will be interesting to see whether the job market attaches a higher level of importance to such programs in future. These programs are so far mainly considered to be helpful for moving ahead in the same company. Will the internet become such a force in education that these courses also help students to move across jobs? How sophisticated will the methods of delivery become in the future?