Home Entrepreneurship Online Learning, 5G and some positivity during lockdown

Online Learning, 5G and some positivity during lockdown

by The Business Influencer

Is the world of education changed for ever… a few thoughts from award winning entrepreneur Matt Jones ( Oxbridge ).

Matt Jones runs an online education learning provider.

 

Digital Learning

Online learning has undoubtedly seen a boost in the last few months. We’ve made as much as a 5-year leap during the lockdown, in people’s appreciation and acceptance of online courses and their related technologies, such as video conferencing. With phrases such as “you’re on mute” now more frequently used than “would anyone like a coffee?”.

A classroom or lecture theatre is limited to a modest headcount, but online learning provides an opportunity to scale almost limitlessly. This scale should mean that learners can experience higher quality courses than they otherwise would.  It makes absolute sense to allow learners to find a comfortable learning environment and at a time and headspace where they will be most receptive.

 

5G

The requirements for online connectivity and collaboration have taken an enormous leap over the last few months in terms. We’ve been fortunate to have such a strong driving force in the West Midlands for 5G implementation. Our online courses have worked well over 3G/4G for many years, but now with the emergence of 5G, it is an exciting time because it means we can offer much more to our students. As an example, with widescale 5G adoption, we won’t have to worry so much about “cutting down” the experience for mobile users (to save on bandwidth).

 

Experience of COVID

Those around me know me to have endless optimism, so naturally, I’ve used our time in lockdown as a time to create opportunities.

Oxbridge has moved to a new H.Q. with zero disruption to its day-to-day running, and we have taken on ten new recruits, nine of which were no longer in a job as a direct result of COVID.

During the pandemic, I made a significant bursary fund available for people who were losing their jobs, allowing them to receive funding towards their course fees, giving opportunities to retrain.

 

What is my leadership style in an increasing digital world…

I believe in nurturing and encouraging the best out of my team. I prefer my team to make their own decisions, and even if they lack the confidence to execute, I find having them talk through their decision-making process often builds that ability over time. I celebrate and promote “intrapreneurship” whereby everyone is encouraged to act like an owner. We have a saying within Oxbridge that “you find it, you fix it” – meaning that if we find problems, we’re all empowered to take ownership and get them fixed, whether that be ourselves or finding someone who can.

 

I am an advocate of building “prickly teams” – there is no point in me hiring ten people just like me; I prefer people who will challenge me with alternative views and perspectives. Diverse teams are so incredibly powerful entities, providing everyone is bound by a solid company culture and vision, you do not necessarily have to like each other, but, you just have to respect each other. Luckily, we have built a team at Oxbridge that also get along really well.

 

When might this change?

On rare occasions, it is necessary to change tact, take the reigns and charge forward. COVID is an excellent example of this, in times of high pressure or stress, it may be necessary for my style to adapt to be more of a captain. Teams sometimes need a single, strong, and direct voice when we need to act urgently.

 

 

Looking to the future

Learning is a captivating industry, and for me, with my tech background, EdTech was the place I felt I could make a difference. As an entrepreneur, there are tremendous opportunities within the market, which, even today, is ripe for evolution. It’s estimated that less than 5% of the current global spend on leaning is digital and that Edtech will see a CAGR growth rate of 12% to 2030.

 

Numbers aside, at Oxbridge, we consider ourselves merely as people helping people. I get energised by seeing others develop and reach goals they previously thought unattainable. To this day, I still personally take phonecalls from happy students who have passed their course; it’s rewarding. It just so happens I can tie this interest up with my interest in tech, meaning I love what I do, and every day is a new challenge.

 

I don’t see the future as “work from home” – it’s a tantalising idea, but I also think a dangerous one. I suspect we will see many businesses shifting to that model over the coming months, but I predict we will see a swing back when it’s realised that in it’s purest form, it doesn’t work for most organisations.

I intend to maintain a working environment where our team enjoy coming into the office, and on the days where they need some quiet time, they feel trusted and empowered to choose to work effectively elsewhere.

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