Market Overview

e-Learning and Traditional Universities – Skills and Knowledge Innovation – By George Mentz JD MBA

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Globally there is a continuing debate on whether a four-year college degree and is necessary for career expansion and professional development. In the 21st century, people are now more innovative and may obtain: several certifications, diplomas, certificates, licenses, and designations rather than spending 30-100 thousand dollars on a traditional on-site degree program. The question arises whether the future will allow sustainability of the traditional college campus. Further, will the regulators going forward allow a candidate to consolidate their credits from varying institutions to obtain a degree from an accredited institution?
Outside of a degree, demand for professional designations has soared. With obtaining professional certifications, the quality standards and ethical components are very important as criteria for credentialing. Further accredited education and exams from top schools can also be used as a pathway to badges or certifications. Therefore, requirements for earning skills badges, designations and certifications include: courses with assessment and exam, experience, ethics, professionalism, continuing education and so forth. See: Ibanez Supreme Court Dicta

My other view is that Massive Online Open Courses or MOOCs will continue to gain popularity as people seek exciting and popular courses. These MOOCs providers and select courses are now being reviewed and approved by the ACE American Council on Education and other credentialing agencies for credit transfer. Thus, individual MOOC courses may now be counted toward a degree or diploma at qualifying schools. Some professionals may accumulate many credits or credentials from various providers of MOOCs, Courses, and Open Ware. The key would be to have a college or university that can accept or consolidate these types of MOOC credits toward a degree? As a note, many accreditation agency policies along with individual school policies require a certain amount of credits to be earned from the actual institution to obtain their degree. To learn more about MOOCs, see www.udemy.com or www.coursera.com

The next innovation is delivery. Who will be the prime distributor of education going forward? While linkedin is already the gold standard of a resume and skills repository, many sites like LinkedIn, Facebook and Monster will continue to integrate education opportunities, skills, certificates and even board certifications into their system.

Some companies are now even creating clearinghouse websites for MOOCs where you can consolidate and document all of your learning in one place and use one login. See Moocdom - http://moocdom.com/ Other companies are first movers in using a MOOC to Certification framework. See The GAFM Global Academy of Finance and Management www.GAFM.org

Overall, LinkedIn, Google+, iTunes University, and Facebook's natural progression is to promote education, skills, degrees, certifications, assessment and more to help more people build their portfolio of skills, certifications, and accredited education, and I am sure that many of the leading e-learning and brick and mortar bodies will be willing to help as profits are of high potential. Accredited e-learning giants such as Kaplan, UOP University of Phoenix and Devry are just a few players in this space that are publicly traded who are acquiring new companies and intellectual property. These education companies and social - professional networks may also become repositories that verify education and skills from educational institutions and certifying bodies.

For investors, several online colleges and public educational companies that are leaders in e-learning, are poised for continued growth in the e-learning fields. Some examples are: DeVry (NYSE: DV), University of Phoenix (NASDAQ: APOL), Strayer (NASDAQ: STRA), Bridgepoint Education (NYSE: BPI), Pearson (NYSE: PSO) Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL), and New Oriental (NYSE: EDU). Some companies that will also benefit from growth in online learning may also be the platform providers such as: eCollege or Blackboard.

While many certifications and designations are regulated in the USA, most are not. Medical and legal board certification is regulated by the states and federal laws. See 9th Circuit decisions on Medical Boards. Public accounting certification is regulated in conjunction with the AICPA and state agencies. Investment advice is regulated by the SEC, CFPB and state governments. Further, each sovereign state has its own list of regulated professions such as plumber, teachers, electrician, barbers etc. Outside of that, most all other badges and professional designations are open for promotion including skills such as project management, e-business, life coaching, financial management, management consulting and more. However, the government continues to expand regulatory oversight on varying professionals. A recent example are tax preparers. See: Horse Act of 1884.

Additionally, it must be noted that many of the top universities in the world now have OPENWARE COURSES that are free. Schools such as MIT, Yale, Harvard and many other big names may offer these courses. The question to be pondered is whether open courses and MOOCs will reduce enrollment over time in lower tier schools, online schools, or state university systems. Only time will tell the outcome and consequences. Going forward, many issues of value may become more important such as: benefits, e-learning opportunities, dual degree, alumni benefits, reciprocity & transferability, brand, accreditation and more. With subsidized loans becoming more regulated, there may also be less money available to work with for those in need. In closing, less money may be needed to obtain a fantastic education and many people will use MOOCs, Open Courses, eLearning, designations, certifications, and other cost effective education strategies to build a super charged portfolio of skills.

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Education Executive, George Mentz, JD, MBA, CILS, CWM, is a world recognized management consulting commentator and award winning professor who has authored several revolutionary books. Counselor Mentz, an international attorney, has been a keynote speaker globally in Asia, Arabia, USA, Mexico, Switzerland, and in the West Indies. Mentz can be contacted for speaking engagements at www.gmentz.com or http://www.gspeakers.com/speaker/?speaker=Mentz_George www.managementconsultant.us Professor Mentz is a noted Wisdom Aficionado and is the first lawyer JD MBA in the USA to have taught over 200 online college or law courses. *No counseling, tax investment or legal advice provided herein. Please consult with a licensed professional in your jurisdiction before making any important career, financial or legal decision. All rights reserved by George Mentz, Esq.

The following article is from one of our external contributors. It does not represent the opinion of Benzinga and has not been edited.

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