Blended Learning Solutions

With an emphasis on rejuvenating educational practises, the Coalition Government certainly has a lot on its plate. In fact, since coming to power in 2010, the Coalition Government has sought widespread reforms in the area education and learning practices. This has involved research into primary, secondary and higher education, as well as university funding. In all, the introduction of Academy status schools - characterised by their independent status and blended learning solutions - has meant that local authorities are now seeing their role decreasing as parents and teachers decide the best way forward.
More recently, the debate has continued to revolve around the merits of the highly sought after grammar schools, and whether they should be widely re-introduced once more. In fact, the counties of Essex and Kent still operate grammar schools widely with few remaining outside of the South West (Devon & Dorset) although one should not forget how grammar schools are the school of choice in Northern Ireland where student attainment rates are higher than their mainland counterparts.
Either way, one thing is clear, the coalition government is intent on ensuring that government funded schools - whether they be grammar, state, comprehensive or religiously aligned - continue to offer the best possible education at an affordable price to the taxpayer. In doing so, the schools will keep up with their private and public school rivals as academies are able to specialise in a particular area of curricular.
But what about university education where the divide between educational background comes to the forefront? Well, with the changes in funding have come changes in educational processes and what it means to now attend university. For instance, blending learning solutions such as in class discussions mixed with group work and targeted employment training are becoming the norm; with students expected a well-rounded package for the financial expenditure. Perhaps the purist example of these changing dynamics has come from the institutions like the Open University, Birkbeck College, London, BPP Law School and London School of Business and Finance, each of whom deliver blended learning solutions. They do this by offing online classes/seminars, mobile learning opportunities, e-resources and even an online graduation. These flexible learning techniques are aimed to help part-time/career learners to continue, or further, their education.
Arguably the changes that have been seen in education will benefit future generations with schools now focused on excellence, whilst universities are taking steps to make learning that little easier, more flexible and with greater employability rates. If anything, educational changes should be welcomed but monitored closely to ensure that continue to meet the needs of those they serve - students.

Fighting Terrorism With Education

Problem: In many undeveloped Muslim countries education is not widely available to all citizens. Many of the boys and young men in these countries get their education in small religious schools called madrasas that teach a strict fundamentalist interpretation of Islamic law to their students. Militant Islamic extremists use these schools as a vehicle for recruiting potential terrorists.
Solution: The citizens in these countries have shown that they are open to new schools being built with funding and assistance provided by western nations. These schools encourage women to participate and teach a well rounded curriculum free of fundamentalist teachings. The resulting improvement in literacy and understanding of the outside world creates a more moderate point of view, and reduces poverty and overpopulation.
Every year hundreds of wealthy Westerners flock to the Himalayan Mountains in Asia hoping to conquer some of the World's most challenging peaks. Most will hire local villagers to guide them to the summit and to carry their gear along the way. These villagers do the lion's share of the work for what usually amounts to pennies.
In 1993 American climber Greg Mortonsen decided to attempt to summit the notorious K2 in Pakistan, one of the World's highest and most dangerous peaks. While Mortonsen did not make it to the summit he did learn a great deal about living conditions in this wild and remote region. Mortonsen had become separated from his group on the descent and ended up stumbling down the mountain exhausted and disoriented, and without shelter, food or water. Fortunately, he managed to wander into a tiny mountain village where he was taken care of by the locals until he could regain his strength. As he recovered from his climb he was shocked to see the rampant poverty and high infant mortality rates (over 30%) common to villages in this area.
When he realized that literacy had only been achieved by less than 3% of the inhabitants Mortonsen saw how he could most effectively give back to the people who had been so kind to him in his hour of need. Mortonsen felt that education was the key to lowering poverty, reducing infant mortality, and slowing birth rates. He began raising money to help build schools. One of his requirements for building a new school was that it had to allow women to attend. Mortonsen realized that educating the women was the key to making progress on poverty, infant mortality, and high birth rates.
Mortonsen was on to something. Studies have shown that in countries where women have received increased education there are consistent results that improve the quality of life in that country. Poverty rates and infant mortality drop substantially as education increases. Economies grow and birthrates drop as more women enter the workforce. Mortonsen understood that poverty and ignorance are the motivating social factors that fuel religious extremism. If he could reduce ignorance and poverty though education; especially education for women, then he could reduce the incentive for the religious extremism that is used to recruit terrorists.
When Mortonsen first began raising money he did not get much of a response from the famous and wealthy people he attempted to contact. His best response came from American school children. A group of elementary kids in Wisconsin raised over $600 in pennies to help support his cause. This got the attention of adults who began taking Greg's mission more seriously, and was the beginning of a program called Pennies for Peace. Today, Pennies for Peace educates American school children about life in other countries and shows them how the pennies they raise can help to make the world a better place for children in other countries. The money these children raise is sent directly to Pakistan and Afghanistan for the building of schools and athletic facilities.
Today Greg Morton presides over the Central Asia Institute. The mission of the Central Asia Institute is: To promote and provide community-based education and literacy programs, especially for girls, in remote mountain regions of Central Asia. This year schools built by Greg Mortonsen and the CAI educated over 20,000 children in the 55 schools that have been built in the last 12 years. Nearly 50% of these students are girls. CAI makes sure than women are afforded access to this education by requiring that the enrollment of girls be increased by 10% each year. The curriculum at CAI schools is focused on math, science and languages. Students from CAI schools averaged 72% on exams to qualify for middle school last year. In comparison the national average in Pakistan is less than 45%. In addition to building schools CAI has also developed over 15 water projects and built four women's vocational centers.
All too frequently in these regions the only source of aid and support for these villagers comes from Taliban militants or extremist groups funded by money from Saudi Arabia. These groups take full advantage of this dependency to suppress rights for women and herd young men and boys into the madrassas when they can be indoctrinated with extreme fundamentalist ideology, and later by recruited for terrorism. The education provided by the CAI schools offers an alternative to this path, and the opportunity to improve life in these villages without becoming beholden to warlords and religious extremists.
When Mortonsen first began his mission to provide education and assistance to the folks in remote Pakistan and Afghanistan he did not enjoy much support back at home. Even more daunting was the threat posed by the local tribal chieftains and clergy. Several times Mortonsen nearly gave his life for his mission when fatwas were issued for his death by angry mullahs suspicious that he was a spy for the US government. Mortonsen once survived an armed kidnapping by escaping and hiding under a pile of animal carcasses as they were being transported out of town. Even in the face of danger Mortonsen persisted and continued building schools and relationships until his detractors were convinced of the value of his contributions.
Apparently, results speak loudly in these impoverished regions. Saeed Abbas Risvi, the senior Shiite spiritual leader in Pakistan, was so impressed by Mortonsen's work that he approached the Supreme Council of Ayatollahs in Iran and managed to obtain a very rare letter of recommendation for Mortonsen to help protect him from the local mullahs and clergy. As news of his success traveled home Mortonsen earned the respect of some prominent members of Congress who are now in support of the work of the Central Asia Institute.
There are many lessons to be learned from the success of the Central Asia Institute and the respect Greg Mortonsen has earned from Muslim leaders. One of these is a lesson in economics. Mortonsen has shown that making an investment in reducing poverty and ignorance may be the most cost effective solution to terrorism. He contents that, "If we could have the $1 million for the purchase of one Tomahawk cruise missile dropped on the Taliban converted to education assistance, we could strike a serious blow on terrorism." Another lesson is that educating women may be the most effective way to combat poverty and ignorance. To quote Mortonsen; "Girls education is a mighty sword in the war on terrorism." It makes you wonder if much of the money spent on the war on terror might have been better spent on educating women and reducing poverty and ignorance in the places where terrorists are recruited.

Solution to the Education Crisis

More than 1.2 million students will not graduate from high school this year (2007) according to a recent report by Editorial Projects in Education. Editorial Projects in Education is a creditable non-profit organization that conducts extensive research to help raise the level of awareness about important issues in American education.
We have an educational crisis in the United States. Why aren't millions of parents outraged and taking a stand? Why aren't our leaders, including the President and Congress, making this issue a major priority?
This report by Editorial Projects in Education also provides startling statistics. Many major cities have schools in which less than half of the students graduate. One major city had schools in which almost 75% of the students failed to graduate. This is deplorable and tragic.
Many of our schools are failing to adequately educate our kids at a time when a good education has never been more important. What will the job prospects and quality of life be for students who do not even complete high school? How will employers in the U.S. remain competitive in the global marketplace if this trend continues? These are questions that need to be addressed.
Problems provide opportunities for solutions
In every crisis there are opportunities to make a positive difference. Every problem has a solution. What is a possible solution to the educational crisis? There are many schools and teachers doing a great job educating our students. We need to examine the schools, courses, and teachers that are producing successful results and create models of what is working.
For example, eighty percent of the economically disadvantaged students who graduate from KIPP (Knowledge is Power Program) charter schools go to college. These kids from the poorest neighborhoods, who on the average are two grades behind when they start at KIPP, are outscoring students from excellent public schools on national standardized tests.
Many community colleges offer courses in study skills and effective learning strategies. These courses teach students how to learn, identify their best learning styles and skills, set goals and manage their time. These courses are often available to high school students as part of early college start programs.
I came out of retirement a year ago to teach success and study skill strategy courses part-time for a community college. One of the courses I teach is for at-risk students who enter college with two or more deficiencies. Students who take this course graduate at significantly higher rates than those who are not enrolled.
Why are the Kipp schools and many college success strategy courses working? The answer is motivated students who work hard, dedicated teachers and courses which help students identify skills, talents, goals and how they learn best. Students are motivated to learn when they are focused on realistic goals and see the relevance of their education to these goals.
An education should bring out the best in our students, develop their potential and natural gifts and help them to become positive contributors to society. We need to create educational systems which model schools, courses and teachers which have proven track records of helping students to succeed. This is one solution to the education crisis and a way to provide our young people with the education they deserve.

Educational Problem Solving

This article introduces the educational solutions module of the world's most recent personal and professional problem solving site, describing competitive offerings, the customer profile, problem-oriented solutions, target markets, product offerings, and usability features. It concludes that the module is a major contribution to the information superhighway.
The aim of this article is to introduce to the world the educational solutions module of the world's most recent personal and professional problem solving site. The article is addressed to those readers who may have an educational problem bogging them and who may therefore be looking for a way out of their predicament. The reader may be a parent, child, or student.
It is a common fact of life that we all have problems and that we are often frustrated or we tend to lash out because of our inability to find accessible and reliable information about our problems. This specialist site fills this need - as our pragmatic friend for solving our educational problems.
To be of the greatest use to people a problem solving site must combine pragmatic discussions of their personal or professional problem with merchant products that provide more detailed information. Typically, the web site will provide free information in the form of news, articles, and advice, which direct the visitor on what to do to solve her problems. Complementing this, the web site will also provide merchant products which discuss in detail how the visitor can go about resolving her problem. This means that the most effective, visitor-oriented problem-solving site will be an information-packed commercial site - and so is the world's most recent personal and professional problem solving site and its specialist sites.
The approach that we have adopted below is to describe competitive offerings, the customer profile, problem-oriented solutions, target markets, product offerings, and usability features.
Competitive Offerings
The following are the top educational sites on the Internet, along with their offerings.
US Department of Education. It defines the US education policy and provides information on financial aid, educational research and statistics, grants and contracts, and teaching and learning resources.
Educational Testing Service. It provides a range of test resources. It provides educational games for K-8 kids. It provides fun learning tools and games for kids.
GEM. It provides educational resources such as lesson plans and other teaching and learning resources.
Education World. It provides advice on lesson plans, professional development, and technology integration.
NASA Education Enterprise. It provides educational materials and information relating to space exploration.
Spartacus Educational. It is a British online encyclopedia that focuses on historical topics.
Department for Education and Skills. It is a UK government department site that offers information and advice on various educational and skills topics.
Times Educational Supplement. It offers teaching news, teaching & educational resources, and active forums to help UK teachers.
All these sites are useful in the domains that they cover. Their main limitations are as follows:
1. They tend to cover only a very narrow segment of the educational market.
2. They do not take as their starting point the daily educational needs of the typical family.
3. They lack a problem focus; i.e., they do not formulate the typical learning and educational problems that pupils, students, and parents face on a daily basis.
4. As a result of the preceding point, the solutions offered are not as incisive (i.e. as problem-centred) as they could be.
5. They do not offer merchant products that deepen the visitor's understanding of her problem and of the consequent solutions.
The educational solutions module of the world's most recent personal and professional problem solving site addresses these problems by targeting a multiplicity of market segments, adopting a customer profile that fits the typical education-pursuing family, considering the specific needs or problems that this family may face, offering incisive (problem-centred) solutions to the various problems, and offering a range of merchant products that deepen the visitor's appreciation of her problems and of the solutions that are applicable to them.
Customer Profile
The customer profile or target visitor characteristics of the educational solutions module is the same as for all specialist sites of the world's most recent personal and professional problem solving site. The site has been designed to meet the needs of visitors who have an educational problem bogging them. It is designed for both males and females, even though it is often convenient to refer to just one sex when writing.
This visitor uses search engines to research information about her personal or professional problem, with the intention of finding solutions to it. The visitor is serious about solving her problem and is therefore willing to buy products that help her to achieve her mission, provided that she can find reliable and honest information about relevant products so that she can make an informed decision about which ones to acquire. This information will help her to apply her finances economically, and hence avoid wasting money.
The visitor will want a money-back guarantee so that if a product does not live up to expectations or if she were misled into buying a product she can get a refund. Such a guarantee absolves her of purchase risks.
The visitor is intelligent (without necessarily being a genius), educated (without necessarily being a PhD), computer literate (without necessarily being a computer guru), and money-minded (without necessarily being a freebie hunter or an unemployed person). This of course does not mean that freebie hunters or unemployed persons cannot gain a thing from the site. To the contrary, there is a great deal of free information on the site. Just that it is hard to see how anyone can gain the full benefits of the site without buying products.
The visitor wants high quality information products (usually in digital form) and wants to pay the cheapest price for these (without paying so much emphasis on price that she compromises quality). The visitor also wants free bonus offers that are attached to the purchased goods.
The visitor is self-reliant and can cope on her own by reading, digesting, and applying advice about her problem until she solves it or discovers that she needs help from a professional, at which point her acquired knowledge will help her to reduce her consulting fees. As a result of the knowledge gained, the visitor will be able to assess consultants in order to avoid incompetent or fraudulent ones.
Problem-Centred Solutions
Our free solutions are organised in the form of pragmatic articles that are written by top experts. Each article addresses a specific daily problem, but does not go into detail. It explains the problem and tells the visitor what she must do to solve her problem. However, it does not tell the visitor how she must solve it - this is too much for an article. To find out about the how, the visitor must buy a product (usually an e-book or e-book set) that goes into greater depth.
The set of educational articles that we have chosen, to provide initial solution to a visitor's problem are as follows:
Signs of a Gifted Child - Informs parents on how to identify whether or not their children are gifted.
Essential Parenting Lessons for Enriching Your Child's Education - Teaches parents how to enhance their child's education.
Using Positive Affirmations to Be a Better Student - Teaches students how to use positive affirmations to improve their performance.
They Are Just Afraid of Writing - Teaches writing skills to students
How Can Parents Encourage Their Children to Read? - Shows parents how they can improve their children's reading skills.
Test Preparation Tutoring - Discusses the topic of tutoring students to prepare for tests or exams.
Test Taking Strategies - Discusses various strategies for taking and passing tests or exams
Playing and Winning the Scholarship Game - Describes how to win scholarships.
How to Get a Scholarship to a UK University - Describes how to win scholarships to a UK university.
Saving Money for College - Instructs students on how they can save money in preparation for college.
Student Loans: When Your Educational Dreams Can't Compete with the Cost - Explains to students the benefits of a student loan.
Education Loans Can Fund a Higher Degree to Boost Your Career - Also explains to students the benefits of a student loan.
The Secret to US Department of Education Loans - Teaches students how to get a US DoE loan to finance their higher education.
Student Loan Consolidation - Save Money, Pay Less, Spend More - Explains to graduates how to make use of loan consolidation to reduce their student loan repayments.
Higher Education: Finding the Right College for You - Explains to students how to find the right college or university for their higher education studies.
Mobile Learning - An Alternative Worth Considering - Explains the concept of mobile learning and its place in education.
Online Degrees - Is Online Education Right for You? - Analyses the merits of online learning as compared to traditional learning.
An Online College Education Overview - Reviews the whole concept of online learning.
Finding the Right Quotation for Your Paper or Speech Online - Shows writers and speakers how to find the right quotation to use in their writings or speeches.
Collaboration: An Important Leadership Development Skill - Explores the useful concept of collaboration and its role in leadership development.
At the end of each article is a list of merchant products that supplement the article's content. A link is also included for accessing the educational product catalogue.
Target Markets and Product Offerings
Now let us turn to the target markets and their associated product offerings. We have positioned the segments to address the various needs of a visitor over a period of time, and at any given time a customer may belong to one or more of the market segments. There are three general classes of products offered: ClickBank products, Google products, and eBay products. Google and eBay products are presented on each page of the site. ClickBank products are grouped into product categories that match the target markets. These categories and their markets are as follows.
Children and Parenting. This consists of visitors who want parenting solutions for improving their children's upbringing. Their needs are met through the Children and Parenting section of the educational product catalogue.
Difficult Admissions. This consists of visitors who want to learn how to get admission into top universities. Their needs are met through the Difficult Admissions section of the educational product catalogue.
Esoteric Needs. This consists of visitors with unusual needs. Their needs are met through the Esoteric Needs section of the educational product catalogue.
Financial Aid. This consists of visitors looking for scholarships, grants, or loans. Their needs are met through the Financial Aid section of the educational product catalogue.
Leadership Skills. This consists of visitors looking to develop their leadership skills. Their needs are met through the Leadership Skills section of the educational product catalogue.
Learning. This consists of visitors who want to improve their learning ability. Their needs are met through the Learning section of the educational product catalogue.
Mental Speed. This consists of visitors who want to explode their mental speed. Their needs are met through the Mental Speed section of the educational product catalogue.
Positive Affirmations. This consists of visitors who want to transform their negative dispositions into a positive mindset in order to improve their performance. Their needs are met through the Positive Affirmations section of the educational product catalogue.
Speaking. This consists of visitors looking to improve their speaking skills. Their needs are met through the Speaking section of the educational product catalogue.
Tests and Exams. This consists of visitors looking to master exam technique. Their needs are met through the Tests and Exams section of the educational product catalogue.
Writing. This consists of visitors looking to improve their writing skills. Their needs are met through the Writing section of the educational product catalogue.
Usability Considerations
Usability has been enhanced to make it easy for the visitor to find solutions to her problem, by following these steps:
1. The first thing the visitor sees are a set of articles whose titles represent the specific problem area they address. The articles are accessed from the Educational Problem Solving menu of the navigation bar to the left of the screen or from the Educational Problem Solving main page. By scanning these articles the visitor can identify whether or not her problem is covered. If not the visitor can check the educational product catalogue through the Product Catalogues menu of the same navigation bar, to see whether a product exists that answers her query. If she finds nothing she knows that her problem is not addressed. She can proceed to the Related Sites pages, which are accessible from the left navigation bar.
2. If the visitor finds an article that addresses her problem then she can begin to explore that; at the end of the article she will find products that discuss her problem more deeply. She can also access the educational product catalogue through an article page.
This article has introduced the educational solutions module of the world's most recent personal and professional problem solving site. The article has examined competitive offerings, the target customer profile, problem-oriented solutions, target markets, product offerings, and usability considerations. It concludes that the module is a major contribution to the information superhighway.
A A Agbormbai is the editor and webmaster of Personal and Professional Problem Solving - a web site that fills a vacuum on the Web. He has a PhD from Imperial College London and enjoys an interdisciplinary upbringing having worked or studied in aerospace engineering, information systems development, and management. The educational solutions module is one of many specialist sites of Personal and Professional Problem Solving.

Learn the Guitar Online - Educational Solutions For a Busy Schedule

You do not have to commit to a class to achieve your dream of becoming a skilled player. If your schedule is filled, you can still find a way to fit in a solid session of learning. Rather than pushing their goals to the side, many people have decided to learn the guitar online. You can cover all the material offered by a professional trainer whenever and where ever you want!
Learn the Guitar Online at your Own Pace
Some people are fast learners while others struggle through new material. This can create some problems in a classroom setting. Just because you are not a quick learner does not mean you will never learn. Some aspects of a lesson may require more time and focus than others for you to fully understand. In a classroom setting, this can be somewhat embarrassing. When you learn online, you can move at your own pace without the added stress of others. Even one on one lessons can be intimidating. Eliminate the stress so you can focus entirely on learning!
Wear Your Pajama's to Class!
When you learn the guitar online, you can enjoy the flexibility of in-home classes. That means you can work through the material in your pajamas if you like! Few places compare to the comfort of home, so why not discover your talent in a relaxed setting? Focus on the material without outside distractions or pressure to perform. Any room in your home can become a classroom when you learn the guitar online!
Spend Less to Learn the Guitar Online
Classroom training can get very expensive. If you have difficulties working through a lesson, that could mean paying out for additional time with your instructor. Know exactly how much developing your new skill will cost by opting to learn online. With traditional classes, if you miss a session you will most likely still have to pay for it. That's not the case in a virtual classroom. Practice and learn anytime you like from anywhere with an internet connection!
The Total Cost to Learn the Guitar Online
When you learn the guitar online, you are usually offered a flat rate. Compare that to the total fees required for a month or more of classroom learning and you will see that the difference is significant. Not to mention the cost of gas or travel expenses as well as time. In the end, you will pay less to learn online than you would for a traditional class. All the money you save could go toward a high quality instrument, a great reward for moving on to more advanced lessons!
Making Time
Life can get really hectic, and many times other obligations must come before recreational endeavors. If you have always wanted to learn an instrument, but never had the time, the internet might be the solution you have been searching for! Learn the guitar online whenever you want! That means day or night, whenever your schedule allows you can log in and work through lessons. Many professional instructors only offer classes during the day, while you are at work or taking care of other daily commitments. When you learn the guitar online, you can go to class as late or early as you like!
More and more people are achieving their guitar-playing dream by discovering the benefits of online classes. Those who learn the guitar online pay less while enjoying a completely convenient learning schedule. Do not put off your goals. Instead, discover new ways to make them fit into your hectic life! Learn the guitar online and see why this method is steadily growing in popularity among new, aspiring musicians!
Liam Gibson of, specializes in helping aspiring guitarists get the info that they need to make the right choices. Liam, a stage guitarist himself, leads his team of guitar experts to constantly review new courses and products in the market and make sure you get the best value products that work for you.