Education model in the contemporary world has taken a new face where by the conventional education has been complemented by e learning. According to national center for education statistics 20.4 percent of college student across the world subscribe to distance learning program. DL limited is a new UK company that is a part of Sterling consulting group.
The firm offers long distance business management courses in conjunction with university that have subscribed to this package. The company the set-up cost of DL limited involves course development; web portals costs and general operating overheads are £300000.The company has a strategy to expand to other lucrative market to form a network contacts with many universities and governments around the world.
Analysis of the company market environment is therefore crucial to determine the opportunities and strength of the firm in its expansion to other markets (Foster, 1992). The company intends to extend its educational services to markets beyond Turkey, which has been its major clientele. The business plan will seek to outline strategic and product decision in the bid to expand to other markets around the world.
DL limited is a higher education consulting firm that provides undergraduate university courses in business management through long distance open learning model. DL limited is part of sterling consulting group with mandate to offer distance-learning package to undergraduate business degree programmes in Europe and other parts of the world.
The firm utilizes the world web technology and other support systems to offer the education package (MacDonald, et al. 2005). The firm is budgeting for an enrollment of 500 students annually from different universities around the world. DL limited company is supported by client universities by their subscription to the e-learning educational model.
This model focuses on both full time and part time students. The model offers the courses to students of the subscribed universities through a web portal that will provide an interactive learning through an instructor (Naidu, 2005, p. 658).
Proposed model for web-based e-learning system
Source: semantic web technology
To be the world recognized center for academic excellence through e-learning model of education.
DL limited is dedicated in overcoming barriers that restrict access to university education and provide quality education and research through e-learning model in conjunction with other universities across the world.
DL limited company will provide distance learning in undergraduate business courses and other business related transfer course. The firm is mandated to offer the below courses in business degree level in its distance learning model.
- Bachelor degree in economics
- Bachelor degree in finance
- Bachelor degree business administration
- Bachelor degree in business studies
- Bachelor degree in managerial information system
- Bachelor degree in commerce
- Bachelor degree in marketing management
- Bachelor degree in human resource management
- Bachelor degree in accounting
Environmental analysis seeks to assess internal and external factors that affect the company distance-learning program. In analyzing macro and microenvironment, the S.W.O.T (strength, weakness, opportunity, and threats) analysis will be used. Strength and weakness will analyze the internal environment whereas weakness and threats will assess the external environment under which the firm operates (Barrows, 1994).
- Well-established partner: – DL limited is offshoot of Sterling consultant group, which offers consultation services in UK. Sterling consultant group has three years working experience with senior officials in UK universities and 14 Turkish universities to develop double degree program in business, IT, and Engineering courses. The sterling group has currently 1000 student from Turkey representing a fee income of more than £ 7.7 million to UK universities.
- Infrastructure:-The web technology to be utilized is superior in reaching more students in different universities across the world. The infrastructure is also cost effective method of learning since no physical amenities will be required to disseminate knowledge. This model of learning enables a student to be exposed to different materials in the web that cannot be offered by one single lecturer or instructor.
- Financial and resource backing:-DL limited is a new firm from Sterling group. The firm will be launched within three months after its completion and will be requiring £300,000 as its operating costs. DL limited is a subsidiary of Sterling group and therefore the firm will have the advantage of having its initial capital cost transferred to its mother company.
- Experience support stuff:-The human resource that will be employed in support of the distance-learning model will be required to be well experienced with information technology systems and with skill to handle any query from the customers. The working group will vary in their specialization ranging from information technology technicians to qualified lecturer who will provide a support service to the clients.
- Availability of variety of business courses:-DL limited has a mandate to provide business courses. Variety of these courses can increase the number of enrolment to the program due to its diversification. These courses may range from accounting to finance and other relevant business courses
- Inadequate business experienced-DL limited is new upcoming company in the distance-learning model of education. The firm has no experience in management know how and will depend on the mother company for a while before it can operate independently.
- Resources: – DL limited is a new company that has yet no resources and will depend entirely on the sterling group. These resources will include financial and human capital and infrastructures.
- Weak public perception:-Intensive marketing for the new firm is important if the firm is to gain international recognition. The known firm to the public is Sterling Company and therefore DL limited will have to strategic market itself to be recognized as the provider of distant learning services to client universities.
- Scope:-DL limited has a narrow scope in its mandate to provide leaning courses. The firm has a mandate to provide only business management courses. This reduces the opportunity to admit other student from other discipline that may want to use the services.
- Mode of learning:-Distance learning depends entirely on information technology, which is vulnerable to cyber crimes. The business is risky in that these cyber crimes can bring sudden inconsistency in the mode of learning if these crimes. System viruses and interference of information in the database are some of the threats that face distance-learning mode of education.
- Ready market:-Distance learning model of education is gaining popularity across the world. Currently Sterling group which is the mother company to DL limited has exceed two million distance learning student from Turkey universities. This model is being replicated in Eastern Europe countries such as Georgia and Albania. DL limited will be enrolling a minimum of five hundred student annually.Market for distance learning program is large and therefore DL limited need to expand its infrastructure to accommodate the large number of student who need to enroll in the program. DL limited looks forward in exploring the African and Asian markets to extend its services. This will be made possible by enrolling potential university institutions in these areas to the distance-learning model. These markets are not as saturated as those in America and Europe and therefore will provide a good starting ground for the firm.
- Government support:-Sterling group has been working with governments in UK and other countries who are in support for the model of education. Government support provides a conducive environment for the company operations and this is an advantage to the firm.
- Location:-DL limited is situated in UK, which is strategically situated in terms of access to the technologies and support needed. The company is also well located near competent world-renowned universities that will offer support services to new to the firm.
- Technology:-E-learning technology model is an information technology new approach to learning. Network transfer of skills and knowledge supports this model. It include web-based learning, computer based learning and virtual classroom platform.
Distant learning is however taking a new paradigm shift because of emerging new technologies. Traditional learning methods are becoming more overtaken by new trend in learning methodology. In today’s learning world, learning systems make use of internets, e-mails, video transmission, and even social site such as face book to communicate with students.
Modules on different subjects can now be taught via teleconferencing and shared through social networks. This advance in technology have made learning more cost effective in that many students all over the world can now access education more easily (Owston & Wideman, 1997, p. 66-73).
- Competition:-Distance learning is an emerging model for modern education and is therefore subject to competition for several institutions in UK. Firms such as Stone bridge associated collages have well established names as distance learning providers. These institutions offer much flexible and competitive business degree programs and have years of experience in distance learning model.
- Aggressive marketing:-Aggressive marketing by the competitor is a threat to the firm’s market share. DL limited is a new company that is barely known in the market. The firm needs to develop good marketing strategies in order to compete effectively with other firm in the market.
- Fluctuation in demand: – From the current economic conditions, it will be difficult to forecast the demand. The number of student forecasted to enroll in the program may be less than planned. One can never be certain on the forecasted demand as a number of factors beyond the organizations control impacts on the demand.
- Cost of technology:-The intended educational model relays heavily on information technology. However, technology is very dynamic and change over time. Technology that is superior today will be obsolete tomorrow. In corporate world, technology aspect of the organization should be reviewed every eighteen month and changed if necessary. The cost of a new technology is very expensive in terms of maintenance and initial installation.
- Over reliance to mother company: – DL limited is a new company that is a split from Sterling group. The company will rely on almost every aspect of its operation from the mother company. The mother firm will provide most of the finances for its establishment and even technical assistant.
DL limited is a new firm that traces it origin to Sterling group. In order for the firm to grow and attain the competitive advantage, the management will have to focus on the objectives and implement strategies to achieve them. These objectives are as follows
- Exploring new markets:-DL limited is interested in expanding in African and Asia markets. These markets are new to the program model and this will provide a good starting point for the firm. Survey from 134 countries in Africa showed that distance learning is a new concept in the continent. Among African universities e-learning trend was as follows
The biggest challenge to distance learning in Africa is the internet bandwidth and unstable electricity supply. There has been however efforts to provide undersea cable to the coast of Kenya as per July 2009.
The Asia market is however for more receptive to distance learning model. The strategic approach in markets in Asia in to attract the population to enroll to the program. The target being India and china, which has vast population of universities that may find it convenience to subscribe to this model of learning.
- Ensure quality learning: – Quality in an essential aspect in distance learning. Quality leaning brings about competitive edge over the competitors offering the same product to the market. In providing quality to the customer, the management will have to review the curriculum of the courses to offer. The delivery methods employed to provide these courses must be efficient and reliable. The human capital employed must be conversant with the system administration. Capacity building through training is also crucial as far as quality is concerned. Capacity building should be spread not only to the technocrats but also at the management level of the organization (Dewey, 1958, p. 149).
- Attain competitive edge: – Competitive edge over competitors will give the firm monopoly of offering business courses to the market. Competitive advantage can be attained through technology and other innovative means to achieve organizational market targets. The firm will have to conduct survey in order to benchmark its services with other firms providing the same services. Extensive marketing is also a significant aspect. The firm may utilize information technology modes such as internet to market its courses to institutions around the world.
- Staffing-DL limited is an upcoming company dealing in distance learning program. The company is to be launched within three months of its initiation. It will require human capital to operate. Specialist in different areas of operation within the firm will need to be recruited through a very competitive method. The main objective is to ensure quality service to the customer (Namuth, et al. 2005).
- New products:-DL limited is mandated to provide undergraduate degree courses in business courses. The firm will also provide a course curriculum accepted by the by the client universities. The firm also will have to provide and information technology course as a common unit to compliment these courses such that one will have a degree in relevant business course and a diploma in information technology. Full time undergraduate course in business will take three years plus one year in information technology diploma. This will be made possible in collaboration with four renowned UK University namely University of Leeds, University of Nottingham, University of Warwick, and University of Greenwich (Clark, 1994, p. 454).
- Pricing for the courses: – The business courses will be offered in international pricing standards. Each course will be charged differently as follows.
|Courses||Fee per year||Duration|
|Bachelor degree in economics||£ 5000||3 yrs|
|Bachelor degree in marketing management||£ 6700||3 yrs|
|Bachelors degree in human resource management||£5000||3yrs|
|Bachelor degree in accounting||£6200||3yrs|
|Bachelor degree in finance||£6800||3yrs|
|Bachelor degree in business studies||£5000||3yrs|
|Bachelor degree in management information system||£5200||3yrs|
|Bachelor degree in commerce||£6500||3yrs|
|Bachelor degree in business administration||£6000||3yrs|
An additional tuition fee of £1000 will charged for an extra diploma course in information technology, which will take a period of one year.
DL limited will consider the following strategies for achievement of its goals and objectives. Administration will involve putting up technical team and management group to provide an operational mechanism to the new organization. The top organizational structure follows the below model (Dede, 1996).
The top management will provide leadership for the whole organization. The technical department will have to develop information communication systems that will enable distance learning possible (Bransford, 1998). The operations department will be responsible for the academic part of the system include course monitoring and evaluation of the model. At operational level, there will be unit instructors and lecturers.
The mode of learning will involve web approach, video conferencing, and e-mailing. A website for the firm will be developed to include all courses and an online subscription. Payment of tuition fee and online learning will be made possible by this website. The technical team will also be responsible for system maintenance and support (Dede, 2000, p. 58).
Pricing of the courses was reached after survey of tuition costs charged by competing firm and projected operational costs in initiating the firm. The tuition fee will be determined by variety of factors such as cost of investment, competitors pricing and global market pricing. The price reached for offered business meets the international standards and affordable (Nash, 2005).
In ensuring quality learning, the company will provide the latest technologies in its model. Use of communication tools such as e-mail and the firm’s website to share and discuss educational topics and materials will be a step towards offering superior platform of learning (Brown, Collins & Duguid, 1989).
The learning services in the web will provide registration of the preferred online course and interactive tutorials by the instructor. The systems also enable the students to create at while they will be authenticated by using a password. This will enable the student to check the learning topics and assignment. The system also provides online library for references and research (Edelson & Gordin, 1999, p. 399).
In exploring new market, DL limited will have to develop a marketing plan. This market plan will explore the use of internet facility to advertise distance-learning courses. The firm will use social sites such as twitter and face book to bring awareness to the institutions courses (Otterbourg, 1998).
A market department under head of operations will be formed and its representative will have an office in Kenya to represent the Africa market and another office in India to represent the Asian market. These two outlets will be responsible for marketing the firm and offering any support services to institution that enroll to the program.
These marketing units will link up with universities and sell the firms products to these institutions (Dewey, p. 1958). Outsourced private firm will be responsible for selection and recruitment of the support staff for the firm. The contracted firm will advertise for both managerial and operational positions posts and later carry out interviews for these positions.
Key competencies that will be looked for during the interviews are experience and skill in the operation of distance learning (Knowles, 1984). For managerial position, management skills and experience will be the competences required. The resources will determine the number of staff and the number subscribed student on the model.
The lecturer and instructor will be academician will years of experience in the relevant business course (Carrol & Rosson, 2005, p. 8). DL limited also intends gain competitive edge by using the latest technologies in the communication sector. Use of social sites to market and as a means of communication to students is one of the strategies the firm is willing to explore.
By concentrating in business courses, the firm is segmenting the market based on subject of offer and this will enable the firm concentrate more on its core business (Bangert-Drowns, et al. 1991). Competitive edge will also be acquired the nature of the service provider and it is for this reason that the firm will be hiring the most qualified and experienced working personnel (Clark, 1983, p. 452).
|Contribution of DL |
|Development of |
|Using instructional |
design methods to
make sure that
|Sharing work-in progress, |
notes with DL team
so as to tailor them to
|Course delivery||Structured online and |
materials, use of chat
|Availability to take |
part in chat sessions,
Use of DL materials
in face to face
learning elements into
seminars and events
|Use of practical |
methodology in face
to face sessions
|Student Support||Forum, scheduled chat |
|Availability to answer |
email enquiries and
participate in chat
|Assessment||Carefully structured |
online tests providing
feedback to students
|Sharing learning |
so as to design
Being available to
mark tests and give
feedback to students
|Evaluation||Use of database to |
track student progress
into the effectiveness
other evaluations into
the effectiveness of
the training and
|Use of practical |
Strategy for implementing a Distance learning process source: UNCTAD report January 2004
Advantages of Distance Leaning Over Conventional Model
The student does not require hall of residence or a traditional classroom to pursue education while the service provider cuts cost on elaborate organizational structure with employee to pay. Distance learning is accessible to everyone connected to the internet as the service can be accessed from any part of the globe with no time barrier (Gackowski, 2003).
Distance learning has more content in scope that traditional learning model does not have. Through e-learning, one can excess more and latest materials in the internet from any part of the world at any given time, the system is also efficient as it avoids the lock scheduling of classroom learning (Bielaczyc & Collins, 1999, p. 193).
The firm is on the growth stage of product life cycle and projects to be enroll about 500 students annually. This will require extensive marketing campaign in the regional of interest i.e. African and Asia.In projecting future demand the firm need to assess the competition, customer, and product (Clark & Solomon, 1986).
Competition will affect the market share of the company and therefore it is important for DL limited to explore other innovative means in administering this model of learning in order to stay ahead of the competition. Product development is another method of obtaining a competitive edge. The enroll program will commence on January 2012.The projections for the next 5 years (Linn, Bell & His, 1998).
|Number of students enrolled||500||700||1000||2500||4000||8700|
The estimates show that by the firm will be having at least 8700 students with the first lot having successfully completed the course.
Financial Budget and Projection
This section will provide an estimate initial budget of developing distance-learning centre. The set-up costs of DL limited will involve course development, web portals, and general operating overheads at a cost of £300,000.This amount is projected to initiate the cost of establishing DL limited (Malaxa & Douglas, 2005).
Risk management involves identifying and assessing the risk factors with intention to minimize their impact in the organization. Risks lurk in every aspect of the business. They vary from competitor innovations to new technology in the market. These dynamics in the market bring about disruption to the operational consistency in the organization (Kaplan-Leiserson, 1999).There are risks that can be controlled and those that cannot.
The role of top management of DL limited will be to develop a strategic plan for the risks both internal and external risks. Risk factor may range from competition and Technological changes in the business environment. In the mode, learning which is via the web, viruses and hacking may be major causes of concern.
There is also a risk potential of service quality during the delivery stage (Koohang & Harman, 2005). Market risk is the potential of viable market not materializing as projected i.e. in Asia and Africa Economic risk such as recession is factors that have to be considered when projecting the future demand.
The company has to prepare to counter these uncertainties and mitigate the environmental risk factors. Risk management is the process of identifying, assessing, and prioritizing risks factors in order to minimize and control its impact in an organization. The first step in risk management is to identify the kind of potential risk a business is to identify the risk factors the firm exposed to.
This is done by examining the external and internal environment for drivers of the risks (Hayhoe, 1998, p. 76). Risk management involves Identify business process and function in an organization than are vulnerable to the risk factors by
- Rank these functions and processes in order of their vulnerability to risk factors
- Identify threats of risk to these business functions and processes
- Determine the specific risk to each process and function.
- Put up appropriate resources and plans s in place to deal with the risk factors.
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