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Learning At Your Leisure

Today, thousands of working professionals have been able to increase their knowledge and jobs skills without having to enter a classroom.

Monique Verduyn

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In today’s world, many business owners and managers find themselves wishing they could improve their skills to grow their business, or earn more money. But demands on their time made by work, family and other commitments make it seem almost impossible.

The good news is that both the Internet and distance learning education institutions have made many learning opportunities available, making it easier to gain a higher education, learn new skills, and become more marketable. The great thing about online and distance learning is that you can get an education according to your own schedule and you can do it from the comfort of your own home or office.

The benefits

As technology progresses, online learning has gained popularity. Online classes are offered by a wide range of universities and learning institutions. The same applies to distance learning, much of which is Internet-based. Among the greatest benefits of this type of study is flexibility. Many courses are specifically designed to allow students to complete work at their own pace and in their own time. Aside from assignment due dates or the occasional online chat or lecture, there are few other time-based requirements, making online learning one of the better options for people who own their own business, work or have children.

Online or distance learning is also a great solution for people who have financial constraints, as both are generally more cost-effective than classroom-based courses. In addition, whether you choose to study online or at a distance learning institution, it will be possible to take a course that may not be offered in your area. This also allows businesses to have their employees enroll in seminars and classes without sending them to a remote location, saving time and money.

What you need to know before you enroll

But be warned, there are a few questions you should consider when deciding if an online course is for you:

  • Do you have the discipline to set aside the time each day or week that will be required to complete the course?
  • Do you have the right technology to enable you to do the work, such as a computer and reliable Internet access?
  • Are you able to study on your own, without the benefits of interacting with other students?
  • Can you get by without face-to-face interaction with your lecturers?
  • Can you avoid interruptions if you are working from home?

Online and distance learning programmes can enable increased access to learning and encourage life-long learning, provided your approach is right.

Monique Verduyn is a freelance writer. She has more than 12 years’ experience in writing for the corporate, SME, IT and entertainment sectors, and has interviewed many of South Africa’s most prominent business leaders and thinkers. Find her on Google+.

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Enhance Your Entrepreneurial Flair With An Online Postgraduate Diploma From The University Of Pretoria

The Department of Business Management at the University of Pretoria, a leader in business management education, will be offering an Online Postgraduate Diploma in Entrepreneurship for the 2018 academic year with some seminars to enrich your action learning experience.

Dr Alex Antonites

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The Department of Business Management at the University of Pretoria, a leader in business management education, will be offering an Online Postgraduate Diploma in Entrepreneurship for the 2018 academic year with some seminars to enrich your action learning experience.

The programme content focuses on the start-up processes, creativity and opportunity recognition, business planning and marketing as well as financial management. Furthermore, the programme emphasises entrepreneurial growth and small business policy development with relevance to the enabling environment.

Who should enrol?

The programme is designed for pre-, nascent and start-up entrepreneurs who want to attain an advanced degree in entrepreneurship. It is also intended for individuals who work in an entrepreneurial environment and are involved with small business policy development. Although many students in the programme have academic credentials in entrepreneurship or business management, the programme is also appropriate if your education and/or experience may be in other disciplines (e.g. engineering or medicine).

Admission requirements

A relevant bachelor’s degree.

Related: This Enterprises UP Expert Explains Why Start-Ups Really Fail

Additional programme information

The duration of the course is one year. The language of tuition is English and the course will be presented in two blocks by means of the blended learning method (70% online and 30% contact sessions). Students need continuous access to the internet to complete the course.

Course Contents

Overview of modules for Block A

  • Ideation-to-market: Starting up
  • International Business Venturing
  • Venturing Strategy Building (Part 1)

Overview of modules for Block B

  • Entrepreneurial Marketing
  • Entrepreneurial Supply Chain Management
  • Entrepreneurial Finance
  • Venturing Strategy Building (Part 2)

Click here for more information.

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How English Language Skills Play An Essential Role In Building Trust With Your Customers

The English language is the global language of business, politics, international relations and entertainment for a number of countries worldwide.

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The English language is the global language of business, politics, international relations and entertainment for a number of countries worldwide.  While English is not an official language in many of these countries, it is the language most often taught as a foreign or second language, which means that it is spoken by over two billion people.  It therefore breaks down barriers, drives global collaboration and thinking and opens doors to a multitude of opportunities around the world.

However, in spite of this leading role of English in the globalised world, management often considers language skills a ‘soft’ issue and does not recognise that  immediate or concerted efforts for change are required; or more specifically, that individuals need to be fluent in English in order to be competitive in an international business market. As  Jeff Standridge, Vice President of Global Workforce Management at Acxiom Corporation states, “We have to be able to work seamlessly across the enterprise. That requires us to overcome any language barriers that exist. Without the ability to communicate clearly, concisely and effectively, significant risks begin to enter the equation, including lower quality and lost productivity. By addressing these needs early on companies can see a significant financial impact with global initiatives”.

Companies face challenges in educating clients about services and specifics of a product when they lack English language skills. Misunderstandings or mistakes in conveying that type of information cost time, relationships and money.

Related: Effective Communication Means Business Success

The potential loss of trust and commensurate loss of business as a result of misunderstandings through language underscores the importance of a full knowledge of the language for external communications, marketing and branding as well as for handling government and media relations. Ultimately, developing trust with local and global clients and overseas partners requires highly developed English language skills. This sentiment is echoed by Herman Uscategui, Director of Global Strategic Initiatives and International Business Development, Starbucks Coffee Company:

“Advanced language skills provide the foundation to trusted relationships with customers, communities and partners”.

There are many companies and individual professionals who fail in their quest for business or professional success. This failure can primarily be attributed to one of the most basic foundations of forming business relations – the language spoken. Undoubtedly, the English language is the global language for business and having a good command of English will definitely give one who is eyeing globally competitive business or career a clear edge.  Any communication problem, whether personal or business, translates to losses, zero result in negotiations, incompetence for global business or will just simply leave you ill-equipped to carry out business.

In an increasingly aggressive and competitive environment where people work an extraordinary amount of hours and have a number of objectives to reach,  language vendors need to ensure that individuals are capable of learning successfully at their job. The best results occur when instruction is customised to employees’ roles. Subsequently, they will be able to listen to and communicate effectively with diverse people, using appropriate verbal and nonverbal behaviour, language and strategies thereby bridging geographic and linguistic barriers.

The Wits Language School English Communication for Professional Development programme customises English language solutions for public and private organisations that enable organisations and individuals to reach their language goals and to maintain their competitive edge in local and global business.

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10 Books Tim Ferriss Thinks Every Entrepreneur Should Read

Check out these titles curated by the productivity expert and podcast host.

Emily Conklin

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Tim Ferriss, the productivity expert, author and inspirational speaker, is an avid reader, and has highlighted many books on his show and through his blog, seeking to share some of the same wisdom that inspires him.

From self-help to science fiction, there is something for everyone, and these 10 tomes have been selected from the many that make up Ferriss’s library. See what he recommends and why, and get ready to spend your Sunday mornings curled up with one – or several – of these books.

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