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Professionals Would Prefer Online Masters Programs Over Masters Degrees, Here’s Why

Professionals Would Prefer Online Masters Programs Over Masters Degrees, Here’s Why

With the introduction of the digital age, people have begun relying on the internet to fulfill more and more of their needs. This has led to industries hustling and bustling towards digital transformation.

The education industry, too, has begun to appear on the medium in the form of online training. Initially, online education was considered inferior to traditional degrees. Employers rarely accepted online degrees as equal to a degree from a reputed brick and mortar school. However, online courses seem to be taking the front seat in the race for the most preferred, blurring the fine line between traditional and online.

With employers demanding more refined and up-to-date skills from employees, the demand for online programs has increased in popularity. In fact, within the United States itself, 6.7 million students enrolled in at least one online course in the fall of 2011 – an increase of more than 500,000 students when compared to 2010. Online learning has become the new form of education, and here are 4 important reasons why.

1. It is cost efficient

According to a study by FinAid.org, the average cost of a Masters degree is somewhere between $30,000 and $120,000. The cost varies depending on the field of study of the degree and the university where the degree is taken.

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This humongous cost makes it extremely hard for students to meet financial requirements, leading them to take on loans and debt. Recent reports show that loan debt in the US alone is mind-boggling. Here are the numbers:

  • $1.26 trillion in total US student loan debt
  • 43.3 million Americans with student loan debt
  • Student loan delinquency rate of 11.6%
  • Average monthly student loan payment (for borrowers aged 20 to 30 years): $351
  • Median monthly student loan payment (for borrowers aged 20 to 30 years): $203

With online training, you won’t have to sell any of your organs to get an education. The price of online education is three times cheaper when compared to the cost of a traditional brick and mortar school, making it affordable and cost efficient. Plus, you won’t have to fly halfway across the world to get your education.

Comparing costs with on-campus programs varies drastically as well.

The 2-year MS in Project Management program at George Washington University costs US$57,600. At the University of Sydney, the 1.5-year Master of Project Management program costs $34,000, roughly US$26,000 for a year alone. These are both on-campus programs.

Guess how much Simplilearn’s Project Management Expert Masters Program costs – you won’t believe it.

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    2. The Job Market Benefit – Becoming job-ready

    You spend 2 years working your butt off understanding a subject, attending seminars, working through internships, and slogging for exams for what exactly? The hope that you may have the chance to sit for an interview? Well, here’s some news: traditional education does not guarantee a job!

    According to an article by Forbes, in 2008 over 35% of college graduates were underemployed. In addition, 22% of PhDs or similar professional degree holding professionals and 59% of people with Masters degrees did not have jobs.

    In June 2013, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York reported that a whopping 44% of graduates were underemployed.

    This data shows that a Masters degree cannot guarantee you a job. Yes, it is valuable. Yes, 1 out of 3 employers prefer a Masters degree. However, where it lacks is the fact that it does not provide a defined layout of training. These professionals are exposed to various areas of many domains, confusing them and giving them half-baked knowledge and skills.

    Online training courses, however, provide a student with job-oriented training. What this means is that if you take a program like the Simplilearn’s Data scientist Masters Program, you get trained solely in the Data scientist & big data domain. You will not defer into other areas, like Digital Marketing, and will learn through a learning path that is the brainchild of the Data scientist industry’s best experts. You will become a thorough master of this domain, which will increase your chances of getting a job by 3 times.

    3. The eligibility criteria

    Yes, we have all heard of the struggles of getting into a brick and mortar school – some of us have even gone through those struggles. Entry requirements can be a massive headache.

    From work experience to academic marks to English requirements, the eligibility criteria of a traditional school can be enough to completely drain an individual and destroy their self-esteem. And even if you try, hoping that the university gives you a little leeway because you’ve written a good statement of purpose or you’ve excelled in one area that will hopefully make up for the rest, you will be burned down. Universities are very strict on who they take in. If they do not feel that you are up to their standard or that you cannot meet their requirements, then you are immediately turned down.

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    This does not hold true for online training or certification. Yes, there may be eligibility requirements, but they are a minimum few compared to that of a traditional brick and mortar school. Most certifications only require some sort of previous work experience.

    4. Convenience

    Traditional brick and mortar schools demand that you learn on-campus. You need to go to a classroom at a fixed time, sit there, listen to a lecture, get your attendance, and then leave. There are no two ways about it. Without your attendance, you won’t pass. And if you don’t pass, you don’t get your certificate. Without your certificate, you are useless to the job market – unless of course you want to become a delivery boy at Dominos. If you have other commitments, like a family or job, you need to put them aside to concentrate on your education.

    Above all else, the factor that truly sets online certifications apart from the rest is flexibility. Online courses provide this one beautiful option where professionals can study at any time that they want. With the coming of the internet, it has become easy to connect. This means opportunities for students around the world to connect with each other and their instructors over the net.

    A few online training institutes allow you create your own study timetable. All you need is an internet connection and a mobile device and you are ready to improve your skills at any time.

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    A Masters degree can take about 2 years (more or less, depending on your specific field) to complete. But a Simplilearn’s Digital marketing specialist Masters Program takes only 6 months to complete.

    With the advent of the digital age, it isn’t going to be long before traditional mediums of educations vanish from the face of the earth. These are just a few of the reasons for you to consider online training today.

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    The Productivity Paradox: What Is It And How Can We Move Beyond It?

    The Productivity Paradox: What Is It And How Can We Move Beyond It?

    It’s a depressing adage we’ve all heard time and time again: An increase in technology does not necessarily translate to an increase in productivity.

    Put another way by Robert Solow, a Nobel laureate in economics,

    “You can see the computer age everywhere but in the productivity statistics.”

    In other words, just because our computers are getting faster, that doesn’t mean that that we will have an equivalent leap in productivity. In fact, the opposite may be true!

    New York Times writer Matt Richel wrote in an article for the paper back in 2008 that stated, “Statistical and anecdotal evidence mounts that the same technology tools that have led to improvements in productivity can be counterproductive if overused.”

    There’s a strange paradox when it comes to productivity. Rather than an exponential curve, our productivity will eventually reach a plateau, even with advances in technology.

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    So what does that mean for our personal levels of productivity? And what does this mean for our economy as a whole? Here’s what you should know about the productivity paradox, its causes, and what possible solutions we may have to combat it.

    What is the productivity paradox?

    There is a discrepancy between the investment in IT growth and the national level of productivity and productive output. The term “productivity paradox” became popularized after being used in the title of a 1993 paper by MIT’s Erik Brynjolfsson, a Professor of Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management, and the Director of the MIT Center for Digital Business.

    In his paper, Brynjolfsson argued that while there doesn’t seem to be a direct, measurable correlation between improvements in IT and improvements in output, this might be more of a reflection on how productive output is measured and tracked.[1]

    He wrote in his conclusion:

    “Intangibles such as better responsiveness to customers and increased coordination with suppliers do not always increase the amount or even intrinsic quality of output, but they do help make sure it arrives at the right time, at the right place, with the right attributes for each customer.

    Just as managers look beyond “productivity” for some of the benefits of IT, so must researchers be prepared to look beyond conventional productivity measurement techniques.”

    How do we measure productivity anyway?

    And this brings up a good point. How exactly is productivity measured?

    In the case of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, productivity gain is measured as the percentage change in gross domestic product per hour of labor.

    But other publications such as US Today, argue that this is not the best way to track productivity, and instead use something called Total Factor Productivity (TFP). According to US Today, TFP “examines revenue per employee after subtracting productivity improvements that result from increases in capital assets, under the assumption that an investment in modern plants, equipment and technology automatically improves productivity.”[2]

    In other words, this method weighs productivity changes by how much improvement there is since the last time productivity stats were gathered.

    But if we can’t even agree on the best way to track productivity, then how can we know for certain if we’ve entered the productivity paradox?

    Possible causes of the productivity paradox

    Brynjolfsson argued that there are four probable causes for the paradox:

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    • Mis-measurement – The gains are real but our current measures miss them.
    • Redistribution – There are private gains, but they come at the expense of other firms and individuals, leaving little net gain.
    • Time lags – The gains take a long time to show up.
    • Mismanagement – There are no gains because of the unusual difficulties in managing IT or information itself.

    There seems to be some evidence to support the mis-measurement theory as shown above. Another promising candidate is the time lag, which is supported by the work of Paul David, an economist at Oxford University.

    According to an article in The Economist, his research has shown that productivity growth did not accelerate until 40 years after the introduction of electric power in the early 1880s.[3] This was partly because it took until 1920 for at least half of American industrial machinery to be powered by electricity.”

    Therefore, he argues, we won’t see major leaps in productivity until both the US and major global powers have all reached at least a 50% penetration rate for computer use. The US only hit that mark a decade ago, and many other countries are far behind that level of growth.

    The paradox and the recession

    The productivity paradox has another effect on the recession economy. According to Neil Irwin,[4]

    “Sky-high productivity has meant that business output has barely declined, making it less necessary to hire back laid-off workers…businesses are producing only 3 percent fewer goods and services than they were at the end of 2007, yet Americans are working nearly 10 percent fewer hours because of a mix of layoffs and cutbacks in the workweek.”

    This means that more and more companies are trying to do less with more, and that means squeezing two or three people’s worth of work from a single employee in some cases.

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    According to Irwin, “workers, frightened for their job security, squeezed more productivity out of every hour [in 2010].”

    Looking forward

    A recent article on Slate puts it all into perspective with one succinct observation:

    “Perhaps the Internet is just not as revolutionary as we think it is. Sure, people might derive endless pleasure from it—its tendency to improve people’s quality of life is undeniable. And sure, it might have revolutionized how we find, buy, and sell goods and services. But that still does not necessarily mean it is as transformative of an economy as, say, railroads were.”

    Still, Brynjolfsson argues that mismeasurement of productivity can really skew the results of people studying the paradox, perhaps more than any other factor.

    “Because you and I stopped buying CDs, the music industry has shrunk, according to revenues and GDP. But we’re not listening to less music. There’s more music consumed than before.

    On paper, the way GDP is calculated, the music industry is disappearing, but in reality it’s not disappearing. It is disappearing in revenue. It is not disappearing in terms of what you should care about, which is music.”

    Perhaps the paradox isn’t a death sentence for our productivity after all. Only time (and perhaps improved measuring techniques) will tell.

    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

    Reference

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