The making of a great online classroom

Jenni Armstrong

Former Brand and Content Manager, Google

Today’s a great day here at Squared Online’s home in Singapore, as we get ready to welcome our third intake to their first live class tonight!

The journey so far

Three intakes in and we’re thrilled with what we’re hearing from our students. In particular, they’re talking about the live classes and group collaboration project that are the heart of the Squared experience. Many hadn’t expected the interactivity, but are steping up.

‘Squared Online is really exciting. I especially liked that we broke out into smaller discussion groups in the middle of a live class – it was really neat to replicate an offline experience online,’ one of our students from the first intake, a senior leader at an independent agency, says.

So what’s the learning experience our intake can look forward to? Let’s start by exploring the evolution of the online classroom.

Disrupting education

Today, technology has made information more accessible than ever, but are we really realising its full potential when it comes to learning?

‘Impromptu classrooms found on YouTube and Reddit have taught me how to open a tight jar, sharpen my French, master that tough knitting stitch, and most importantly, keep my plants alive’, says Squared Online Asia Pacific’s Commercial Director Sandy Tsang.

‘While these learning experiences have embraced technology and were a lot of fun, not all online classrooms are created equal – especially in more traditional learning environments that don’t concern personal interests like knitting!’

The digital marketing community might have been early-adopters when it comes to tapping into online learning opportuntities and proactive marketers bookmark industry blogs and regularly tune in to YouTube channels to sharpen their skills, but when it comes to structured professional development where does the online element fit in?

‘The sticking point,’ Sandy explains, ‘is that current industry practices are not yet covered in curricula taught at universities or colleges, nor can successfully translated by words and theories in textbooks. Classroom or online training on-the-job can be slightly dry and ineffective, whereas individual online learning can be quite isolating.’

So what’s the best way to learn about a job function you’re passionate about?

‘It’s all about the building blocks of a great learning experience.’

Here’s what our new Squares have coming up…

Multidisciplinary learning

Traditionally subjects are taught in isolation, but combining topics and approaches from a variety of fields provides that holistic understanding of how to apply their skills in a professional context and achieve their goals.

So, they’re not just going to learn about digital marketing, they’ll also be getting to grips with what makes a great leader, change management, the guiding principles of agile organisations and how to work effectively in a virtual groups.

Check out the syllabus

Experience and problem-based learning

By putting new skills into practice, Squares cultivate the attitude and approach necessary for making improvements on both a daily and life-long basis. During their Squared journey they’ll be challenged to tackle hands-on projects such as developing a pitch for a disruptive business proposition and developing a creative, integrated marketing campaign.

The experience of solving open-ended problems based on real-life scenarios builds the skills necessary to work independently and find solutions, as they discover strategies for operating creatively and authoritatively in situations where the path ahead is often unclear.

It also develops a lifelong learning mindset that will take them through the course and beyond to consistently and continually improve through tracking, measurement and re-development of their personal and professional goals.

See an example of a great student project

Task-based learning

Squared Online features a number of different projects and online activities with strong practical foundations and industry applications. The breakout sessions in the live classes are a great example of how this works.

Collaborative, social and team-based learning

How we communicate and work with others changes constantly as a consequence of emerging digital technologies. An interactive programme creates a vibrant, engaged learning community who work together towards common goals, support each other and share knowledge. Over the next five months these new Squares will learn to pitch their ideas to others, take onboard constructive feedback and deliver objectives individually and as a team.

And we can’t wait to get started! Tonight, we’re excited that another group of students will discover what it’s like to go to class as a Square. Our first two intakes have set a precedent and the first live class is sure to be buzzing with chatter and interactivity, with networks and connections already in the making!

Want to find out more about our live class environments?  Click here to find out more about our delivery dates from Asia Pacific.

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