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Tuesday, 1 April 2014 - 7:05am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: dna
Will an online qualification affect your job prospects? Gauri Rane talks to experts to know more

Qualifications play an important role in the selection of a candidate for a post. This is especially true if the job hunter is a fresher. It is a well-known fact that industry has always been favouring degrees/ diplomas obtained through the regular, classroom mode of learning, and not so much through online learning. There's a perception that online qualification is synonymous with poor quality.

Hari Chandan, director, Institute of Distance and Open Learning (IDOL), University of Mumbai agrees with this observation. "Our system does not welcome distance and online learning modules as it does classroom learning."

"Traditionally, the favoured pattern of education is learning in classrooms," says Ashok Maitra, MD Sriiom Group. However, he says that there have been some encouraging developments where the distance and online education is concerned.

As per the analysis by G-Cube, an e-learning portal, the Indian e-learning industry is estimated at USD 550-600 million. The industry has seen an overall growth of 18 per cent since 2009 when the concept of e learning started becoming popular. This shows that there is market for online learning, and why not, when it gives you the opportunity of studying a course you like, at the university/ institute of your choice, and at your convenience. It is for this reason perhaps that the UGC, recently directed all the universities running courses under the Distance Education Council, to treat various courses offered through the distance education mode on par with the regular programmes. Will this step now make a distance/ online education degree more acceptable to the head honchos?

Yes and No, say experts. Maitra, who is has been a veteran in the field of human resource says, "Online courses are good for mid-career and senior management professionals, but our industry still prefers degrees attained after regular learning modules, unless it is a MIT or Stanford qualification." Sachidanand Kulkarni, senior manager, Nihilent Technologies agrees, "Online learning is for those who want to increase their competencies. This means that the executive already has the required skills and now after 8 to 10 years of working, they want to upgrade themselves."

Often, it is the employer, who sends the employee for a learning programme. Giving an example of their own company, Kulkarni explains, "We follow the PO-Fit (Person-Organisation) and the PJ-Fit (Person-Job) format to assess what skills does an employee requires and accordingly formulate the training plan for that employee." Kulkarni says that companies should understand that sending all managers on one programme is not correct as each has a different competency and the training they get should compliment that competency.

Maitra is of the opinion that till the candidate has worthy qualifications from renowned institutes the online degree is not a worry. "Online courses by MIT, Stanford, Harvard and the likes are much accepted and appreciated," he says.

Experts suggest that professional should sign up for online learning programmes. "Online as a medium does not discriminate. It admits anybody and everybody who is willing to learn," says Maitra.

Academicians agree that many people sign up for the online courses, as it is a convenient option. "This is true for those who are working and need flexibility to further their academic qualification," says GY Shitole, principal, SNDT Univeristy, Pune campus. Prof Hari Chandan however, advises online learners to tread with caution. "In India very few institutes/ academies offer good online facilities and due to this there is a certain doubt in the mind of recruiters," he says.

Each individual has the right to better his/ her life. Education provides the access to numerous opportunities that help in making our lives better. "Learning is a life long process and so, if every now and then, you wish to take up a refreshers' programme to skill up then nothing should stop you," concludes Kulkarni.

Click it
Online courses are available at:

www.openculture.com/freeonlinecourses
ocw.mit.edu/index.htmoli.cmu.edu/
www.khanacademy.org/
webcast.berkeley.edu/
itunes.stanford.edu/
ocw.tufts.edu/
www.open.edu/openlearn/
oyc.yale.edu/
www.uclaextension.edu/

The list is only indicative




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