Online postgraduate programmes ideal for working professionals

PETALING JAYA: According to the World Economic Forum’s “2023 Future of Jobs Report”, an estimated 44% of current worker skills will be disrupted over the next five years.

This signals the need for working professionals to upskill, reskill and update their resumes to stay relevant in the evolving job market.

However, many Malaysians are hesitant to commit to postgraduate education in addition to juggling family and professional responsibilities. Online postgraduate programmes offer a compromise that many working adults find favourable.

Improvements in accessibility

Online learning platforms such as Blackboard and Google Classroom have greatly enabled student access to learning materials, particularly through mobile devices.

This works well for busy adults who regularly find themselves on the go; they can now listen to lectures during long commutes, or while on business trips.

The convenience of online portals allows today’s postgraduates to study anytime, anywhere.

With a history deeply rooted in innovation and adaptability, Open University Malaysia (OUM) has been a leader in embracing digital transformation, and streamlining its approach to flexible online learning.

This included the rebranding of OUM’s academic clusters into faculties to improve operational efficiency. In addition, the university widely uses myINSPIRE – a centralised learning platform that creates an intuitive and personalised learning experience for its postgraduates.

Students can easily access key course materials, submit assignments and engage with peers and educators through various forums as long as internet connection is available.

Fully online programmes help working adults better manage their time and responsibilities.

Thanks to the flexible and on-demand nature of online study, working professionals can effectively learn or study whenever they find spare time.

Staying focused in an online environment

A common concern among working professionals is their ability to focus on studies after a long day at work. To combat this challenge, universities have created engaging and specialised curriculums that take full advantage of its digital medium.

For example, multimedia content is used to create an engaging learning experience that helps postgraduates stay focused on key learning objectives.

Taylor’s University’s ‘nano-learning’ focuses on breaking down lecture content into digestible parts. This consists of 25 to 30 bite-sized clips, summarised notes, visual storytelling, and progression quizzes fully designed by the university.

This approach draws on a psychological phenomenon called the spacing effect, where a person’s memory retention is improved as learning events are more spaced out.

As such, postgraduates can learn at their own pace and take full advantage of this spacing effect by spreading out their learning throughout the day – while waiting to pick up a child from school, or by utilising 10 minutes of their lunch hour, for instance.

Technological advancements mean postgraduates enjoy a seamless and interactive online classroom experience.

Furthermore, with innovations in video conferencing apps such as Zoom and Webex, lecturers have access to new tools that facilitate peer-to-peer engagement.

Taylor’s University hosts weekly online sessions for students to discuss learning material with both peers and professors, providing them with the opportunity to ask questions and build their professional network without the need to attend physical classes.

Entering the digital era of education

While the pandemic helped push online postgraduate programmes to the forefront, many universities have extended the opportunity to innovate and provide online academic solutions that are on par or better than traditional physical courses.

As technology continues to evolve, digital learning is becoming the next step in mainstream education.