Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Possibility of a Distance Learning Project

For some time I used to meet up on an 'ad-hoc' basis at Café  Chai  (it's a Caffe Nero now)  with a bunch of expat's in an Ealing coffee shop to look at business propositions for their 'home country'

A business meeting place or for  a chat over coffee
Today after a long break I met up with one of these people  to talk about how high quality education could be delivered into a hostile environment. As is often the case the issue my belief is that the challenge is not the technical but finding the backers who can see what benefits such a project can deliver.

Broadly speaking the issue for many developing societies is how a suitably skilled 'class' of cadres can be equipped to bring progress to a society with limited infrastructure and a civil society that is not well developed.

My project outline for such goals would be as follows:

1) Create a draft business plan, identifying goals and challenges, an idea of milestones and time-scale, a team (very important), high level financials.

The business plan should identify similar projects and reflect on their successes and failures, it should include a project summary, quotations and illustrations to ensure that it is engaging and pleasing to the eye.

2)  Create very strong 'deck' perhaps 4 or 5 slides that can be used to target people who by the nature of their business position  with very limited time/attention spans.

Use a website to ensure that the collateral is easily available, ensure that it is possible for feedback to be submitted.

3) Identify potential partners and investors become familiar with their own interests,  constituencies and goals (Questions are they in it for the long run? Do they want to be involved in day to day activities?)

4) Put together  a dummy presentation/demo and rehearse, using a critical eye.

5) Seek feedback, find what backers like and dislike - refine and resubmit as required.(with emphasis on financials and reality)

Distance learning in a hostile environment.

Distance Learning has become a multi-million dollar business  but it is important that any institution/business offering education can deliver independently audited, certificated courses to a high standard.

What does the market need in terms of qualified students? (e.g. is Engineering a prime requirement or would horticulture be more important).

What Educational materials would be needed and how would the services of tutors be managed they need to be of high quality and consistent.

What are the classes to be taught do they require, practical sessions?

What would the language of delivery be? (is this an issue).

What is the political environment that the educational establishment is functioning within?

Is the Massive open online course ( MOOC) a useful tool/model?

Who pays and who attends?

Questions on the methods of delivery are significant, is it possible to deliver lectures 'live', how would feedback from a class be managed?

My availability to support the project is limited and there's a lot of hard work needed to get to a stage where those with potential funding could be approached - will see if anything comes of it.

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