Academic journal article Journal of Business and Entrepreneurship

Distance Learning: A New Tool for Business

Academic journal article Journal of Business and Entrepreneurship

Distance Learning: A New Tool for Business

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT

The authors have investigated distance learning as a delivery method of low cost educational programs to both the public and private sectors. In order to make these new technologies more readily understandable, the authors develop a taxonomy for the reader. SBI applications are discussed as are methods of delivering high technology based distance learning programs and seminars to small businesses and entrepreneurs.

As major suppliers of counseling, education, and training programs for small business and entrepreneurs. Small Business Institutes (SBIs) to the United States face mounting costs and delivery concerns. Because of similar constraints, many educators and trainers to both public and private sector settings are developing and utilizing new technologies to distance learning in order to reach diverse constituencies to a high quality and cost-effective manner.

Student teams, under the direction of SBI directors, work directly with small businesses and entrepreneurs to help provide education, training, and solutions to specific business problems. In addition. Small Business Institutes often produce seminars and programs for businesses and entrepreneurs. The goal is the samedeliver expert assistance to small businesses. Rather than working with an individual business on several problems germane to that business, the mass delivery technique provides in-depth treatment of a specific topic of interest to all small businesses. The programs might include topics ranging from accounting to marketing to smoking in the workplace.

Throughout the United States, small businesses and entrepreneurs face similar problems relating to: market research, financing and debt management, advertising, franchising, employee recruiting, training, and retention, inventory control, and many others. A corollary problem shared by many SBIs is the lack of qualified experts to meet the diverse needs of multiple constituents.

However, one major obstacle arises when an SBI attempts to offer seminars or meetings for its multiple constituencies. How can the SBI consistently deliver programs of quality to all of the topics required by small businesses and entrepreneurs? Certainly the SBI director will have the knowledge to deliver some of the topics, but few directors are able to provide to-depth education to ALL business disciplines.

Few SBIs are able to offer all the expertise required for a typical small business client. While the SBI director may be an expert in marketing, he or she may not be as well versed to finance, taxation, accounting or law. The assembly of a complete team of experts across several disciplines is always a costly enterprise, and one which few SBIs can manage financially.

This article describes alternative methods and technologies for the delivery of training and educational services by SBIs. Our main goals are to provide a taxonomy of technology-based distance learning models (TDLM) and to suggest possible adaptations of these TDLMs for use by Small Business Institutes.

DISTANCE LEARNING

Distance learning is a relatively new method of delivering education and training from a stogie teaching site (or combination of sites) to remote learning environments. Today universities, elementary and secondary schools, businesses, and private training organizations are using these emerging new telecommunication technologies in distance learning to offer a diverse menu of education and training to a broad spectrum of end-users.

Distance learning can be employed by universities and Small Business Institutes to extend their delivery of educational material to a wide variety of audiences. Universities may offer courses and degree programs. SBIs may offer seminars and programs to small businesses and entrepreneurs in mass settings. Although high-technology based distance learning is a relatively new approach to the delivery of business education and programs, and as such has not been fully evaluated, the concept is worth investigating to this context. …

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