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Geographical disadvantages to quality education


Growing up in a small town in India I witnessed it first hand. Many of the students to my school travelled, many on foot, over 10 km to reach the school. To get the higher education often meant moving to a far away city. Often out of the reach of less economically able folks. That’s an exorbitant burden on any student or family just to achieve any education forget the best of it.

In the traditional educational model, the good schools, libraries etc. are concentrated in heavily populated hubs like cities and larger towns. Justifiably so. It’s tough economically and hard to find good teachers willing to relocate into small towns and villages. Problem is even more acute in developing countries like India with high lifestyle disparity between cities and towns/villages.

So, how does one unlock the untapped human potential of geographically disadvantaged population? I believe that a high touch online education has to be in the mix of any  solution.


Thinking beyond Learning Management Software systems


Most corporations have invested heavily in Learning Management Software (LMS) systems with very little to show for it. No wonder, many of them are looking to replace their LMS systems. But, what is the guarantee that the new LMS they put in place will be any better or would solve the problems that first one could not. It’s time to rethink the role LMS play in corporate training.

An open approach that includes external stakeholders (not only suppliers, distributors etc) where LMS can be leveraged as a means of furthering the goals of the organization. This could extend to recruiting, bringing best of the knowledge to stakeholders and even enhancing the brand image any much much more.

Extended LMS system design


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More than 50% of companies looking to replace their LMS


A study of 135 global organizations, conducted by Brandon Hall, reveals that over 58% of respondents are looking to replace their Learning Management Software (LMS) systems. The top reasons are…

  1. Wrong expectations
  2. Choosing a complicated system
  3. Buying the wrong LMS
  4. No futuristic vision
  5. Hidden and recurring costs
  6. Customization (too little or too much)
  7. Failed in managing changes
  8. Poor content and presentation
  9. Inadequate IT support

Why am I not surprised!

The traditional LMS systems are like a walled garden. The history has shown that the learning is best achieved in an open, sharing and caring environment. The culture of internet points in that direction too.

A cloud based solution that is capable of leveraging best of the knowledge from around the world delivered in a supportive environment would offer an efficient and effective learning system. May be the whole concept of LMS systems needs some serious rethinking.

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How do you teach billions not on internet?


A recent McKinsey report estimates roughly 4.4 billion individuals still remain offline. That is a staggering number. It’s a missed opportunity. An untapped economic potential that is waiting to be unleashed.

Bringing the education to these individuals should be one of the top priority for all of us. A task that sounds challenging but very doable. Consider the following…

In India alone the expected spend under Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is approximately $3.3 billion. Just a small fraction of this money would suffice in setting up and maintaining a computer lab in most if not all rural areas. These labs for now can be wired to the net. Alternately, the internet access can be provided to just the few of them in a hub-and-spoke type model. Take a smart solution like cloud-on-a-stick solution from Classle where an entire course library can be carried by a student on a USB stick. Students can simply access courses when at their remote non-internet-connected computers and synch them occasionally at the hub based computers which are connected to the internet.

This is just one such scenario. Many online-offline solution scenarios can be created based on the resource and talent availability.  What is needed is the leadership and willingness to take on this challenge.


Preparing work force for solar energy revolution


The future of solar energy is no longer a topic of debate. It is well accepted in most circles that it will play a significant role in our energy mix going forward. The debate, however, that needs to be held is how are we going to prepare the next generation of skilled work force to take up the task of creating and maintaing the solar infrastructure.

Advit foundation and Classle are taking a bold step forward. They just introduced an online solar energy training course. First of many such courses to be precise. I can not think of a better way of training a global work force in more effective and efficient manner.

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