There’s a war going on: It’s the war on scheduling. Often times, your lifestyle is its own unique battleground. You’re constantly on the defensive against time, you’re only ally is quick wits and a bit of luck, which in itself won’t work without you. Your weapons include a calendar, your laptop and planning skills. But times are changing, from the language you speak, to the way that you learn. You’re constantly on the prowl for knowledge, except that there are road-bumps and unexpected challenges, holding you back. In fact, these days, it doesn’t really matter whether you’re a student or an investment banker: the ability to schedule flexibly is your priority.
How about this: Yohana is a young entrepreneur currently experiencing her first days in career mode. She lives just outside of town – away from the city center, but not too far out. Much like any other woman, Yohana has duties to fulfill: she has a husband, works a full time job, takes care of her parents and looks after her kids every day of the week. Then all of a sudden, career kicks in. She’s in charge of clients, not just in Germany, but almost the entire European continent and like many international people; she struggles with adapting to cultures, learning new languages and keeping in touch with her clients. However, she is also part of a growing trend that’s catching on. As much as she loves face-to-face learning, she also embraces online learning.
Flexibility is a must for most young adults. Another growing trend is “work-life-balance”. This of course is easier said that done. Most people know or at the least have heard of it, however if it was as easy as flicking on a light switch, we’d all be resting on our sofa beds, or learning how to cook better or learning a new language. Before online learning was even considered, it was simply a catch-phrase. Busy people took night classes after work, hopping on their bikes, cycling through the windy night as they sit in crammed classes and begin the exciting journey of learning.
Now, we find ourselves at a time where learning can be achieved anywhere through means of technology and while technology changes, our lifestyles and flexibility often don’t. 50 years ago, you’d organize everything with a pager that was marketed as an alarm clock plus belt and jeans. But these days, scheduling and flexibility has never been more important, especially for those that work beyond borders. To the average adult, that flexibility is becoming more and more of a requirement. But flexibility isn’t something that can be bought at your local gas station, or touched and be seen. Students have to make flexibility.
Our girl, Yohana, works and is a daughter to someone as well as a friend and a sister. Right off the bat, she is already working multiple jobs at once. She has commitments to her family and dedication to her job and a passion for her career. She has no choice. Online learning however, has provided students like Yohana with an alternative to accessing education. We live at a time where 18 -20 year olds or even 14-16 year olds require flexibility that a Banker in the 70s would need. Much like Yohana, many boys and girls want work life balance. Where activities such as athletics, language skills and further education can be accessed through institutions, online learning allows these students to access them with the much needed flexible scheduling and low cost alternative.
Working and Studying
The Germany Trade and Invest center suggested that, at least in Germany, the working hour exceeds no more that 40 hours per week. Thus, maintaining a work life balance is not a steep learning curve and our girl, Yohana, could sure use that extra time to better communicate with her clients. In the sense of both, having the freedom to enjoy speaking in the same language and clear-cut audio.
Information from Diana G. Oblinger, author “Education and Information technology”, stated that at least 5.6 million students are enrolled in an online class as of 2009. Now, that number is 6.3 million and that’s only in the US. In fact, a study done by UNESCO in their IDEAL project (Impact of Distance Education on Adult Learning) states that the most active online learning countries in Europe were Greece, United Kingdom, Italy and Germany.
If we translated these statistics, we would get the answer that the education industry is shaping and changing. Traditional adults like Yohana, studied at a traditional university and now that she’s in the real world, it’s time for her to take a step further. Adults, like Yohana, require flexible scheduling and need a non-traditional method to fulfill her family and career expectations. Authors such as Oblinger, suggested that adults can ease up their scheduling and not murder their calendars via online learning means.
The word “classroom” will soon have a different meaning. When you first hear the word, you’d think back to your old high school, with rows and rows of seats as far as the eye can see, filled with students docked down with hoodies and sweatshirts. The word “classroom” will mean nothing when adults can learn and access whatever class they’re taking at home, in a café, in a holiday home and more or less any part of the Earth.