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The Online Learning Platform Way

Regional, March 3, 2016 – Online learning platforms are disrupting the educational system and policymakers should take notice.

These platforms are a growing phenomenon worthy of stronger policy attention in our local education systems and workplaces. The more well-known learning platforms allow users to learn from some of the best lecturers and professionals from top universities such as Harvard, MIT, UC Berkeley, Dartmouth, and the list goes on. Users, more oft than not, can audit the classes for FREE. To earn a certification, users pay a minuscule price compared to the actual costs of taking these courses at the university itself.

The lowered cost barrier promotes the inclusion and diversity of normally excluded groups such as the poor and women who are unable to attend higher educational institutions. More importantly, what these platforms are promoting is self-learning and life-long learning. With the constant changing dynamics in technology and skills in demand by the private sector, it is imperative that our human capital and workforce keep up with the changes. Online platforms allow persons to do this at their own pace and at a minimal cost. With human capital being one of the top three cited issues by firms interviewed under the PROTEqIN survey, employers can create the workforce they require by subsidizing or fully covering the costs of their employees in taking relevant courses and training that build the skills of their employees.

From courses on website design to visualizing data, grammar and writing to language platforms such as duolingo and italki; the plethora of options available to improve one’s skills is amazing and only limited by the time and effort you have and also your access to reliable internet. Aside from the obvious policy implications, is also the issue of broadband access for the marginalized, who would benefit the most from these online learning systems.

It is here that Compete Caribbean is also making great strides in its recent broadband assessment. Entrepreneurs are also greatly benefiting from these platforms. One such platform directed at Caribbean entrepreneurs is the IDB/YABT collaboration through the REACH project to promote online Boot Camp webinars. Thus far, over 700 persons have received live training or have viewed the recorded sessions. Past available sessions highlight easy ways to create a website for your business, how to use crowdfunding platforms, marketing for entrepreneurs, how to start a social enterprise, and much more. Entrepreneurs, check this out!

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