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Australian education services company to reverse online college dropout rates in US

An innovative Australian education services company with expertise in preventing online college drop out rates will be offering its services to the US market.

Global Learning Support (GLS) will be attending the Learning Solutions Expo in Lake Buena Vista in Florida today to share its success story.

A pioneering innovator in the e-learning sector, GLS is working with leading education providers to significantly reduce drop out rates, which is the biggest challenge to the online education sector globally.

According to Bloomberg, MIT and Harvard reported only a 5 per cent completion rate of their online courses in 2012-13. [1]

Research shows while cost, lack of resources, and convenience are driving an ever-increasing number of students to online study; this trend is seeing a snowballing dropout rate.

GLS co-founder, Jarrod Nation, said the online drop out phenomenon was proving a huge cost to the sector with up to 92 per cent of students abandoning their courses in some cases.

“We are able to achieve a turn around for e-learning providers by creating a unique environment for students that facilitates, guides and encourages progression and clears the pathway to completion,” Mr. Nation said.

“Students need and want quality support, ongoing motivation, discipline and accountability during their studies to keep them on track. This is what GLS delivers.”

The Learning Solutions Expo will be held until March 27 at the Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista / 1751 Hotel Plaza Blvd. / Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830

 

[1] Source: http://www.bloomberg.com/bw/articles/2014-02-11/behold-a-virtual-course-without-online-eds-huge-dropout-rate

 

For more information contact:

Mr. Jarrod Nation / Co-founder and Director of Sales and Marketing / +61 418 128 300

Mr. Jeremy Sparkes / Co-founder and Account Director / +61 409 974 775

 

About Global Learning Support (GLS)

www.globallearningsupport.com

GLS is a leading education services provider. The company partners with education providers and uses its proprietary student support, engagement, and management tools to increase course completion rates.

Currently supporting in excess of 25,000 students, GLS tools have seen online course retention rates as high as 98%.

One of the keys to the success of GLS is maintaining the human touch even while students are completing their courses online.

 

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Danger Zone in Food Crisis Management

By Rob Masters

In an ironic twist, the theme of Australian Food Safety Week of late last year – The Danger Zone – could not have been more applicable in the last three months throughout Australia.

To name but a few, there have been –

  • salmonella outbreaks in Brisbane affecting more than 200 people;
  • a $25 million settlement offer by soy milk company Bonsoy to 500 victims food poisoning (perhaps the largest settlement for a food poisoning case in Australian legal history);
  • Woolworths supermarket on the Gold Coast being named as the source of a dead mouse in a rice paper roll;
  • approximately 200 Australian cruise ship passengers bound for New Zealand restricted to their cabins after exhibiting severe food poisoning symptoms; and
  • the recall on of Nanna’s frozen mixed berries and Creative Gourmet mixed berries from the supermarket shelves following notification of Hepatitis A cases in Victoria and New South Wales.

Each year an estimated 5.4 million Australians are affected by food poisoning.

Preparedness for the management of such crises should be a high priority for anyone in the food industry. The visibility an issue can give to a company often leads to its future viability and credibility.

Unfortunately, the investment in preparedness is still neglected today. The adage “fail to prepare, prepare to fail” is typical of many companies. They pay lip service to having a crisis plan, having it tested and having it maintained for currency.

Yet in today’s multi-mediia environment, a single tweet can turn an issue into a full-blown crisis of global proportions.

The Nanna case is a typical example. It has brought into focus the quality standards of the berry industry of China and Chile (the source of Nanna’s products) along with that of the packaging processes of China.

The Australian Made campaign called for the purchase of “genuinely Aussie products”, and sectors of the horticultural industry called for greater quality controls on imported foods.

The issue also put further focus on “quality control testing” and the timeliness of activating recalls for “public safety and confidence”.

The issue here has its foundations with leading Melbourne radio commentator Neil Mitchell with his often asked question: “How long did you know about the issue before you activated the recall?”

This is a tipping point for all food related industries in a crisis.

The testing for contamination can take days or weeks, which makes the decision to recall very difficult.

Do you sit and wait for verifiable evidence, or do you do ‘the right thing’ by the community and recall; hoping you have enough crisis management skills and plans in place and ‘reputation goodwill in the bank’ to see you through.

No mater what, you are in ‘the danger zone’. (And the actual ‘danger zone’ for food where bacteria thrives is between 5C and 60C).

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The gentle art of working with Local Government in Victoria

By Angus Nicholls

Recently we have had occasion to provide some strategic advice on interacting with Local Government in Victoria. As a former Councillor, it gave me pause to reflect on my time in Local Government and to question why more organisations do not adopt a similar approach to engaging at the local level to that used when dealing with State and Federal Governments.

The sensible conclusion I can reach is that there is a symbiotic relationship of disappointment (applicant) and inaction (Local Government), culminating in a lack of respect (mutual).

Let me explain.

Having sat on both sides of the fence, so to speak, I have experienced first-hand both the political play to the lowest common denominator (i.e. taking the populist approach to decision making with the view that “it will end up in VCAT anyway”); as well as the “What’s the point in engaging? These people (Councillors) don’t give a damn about making the right decision.”

The root cause of this malaise I attribute to Local Government being able to “outsource” unpopular decisions to another responsible authority (generally VCAT). That said, I do not think that those seeking positive results from local council’s have sufficiently engaged with Councillors.

My experience to date has generally seen Council interaction laid off to “paid professionals” and left at that. This is only half the job done. These professionals may be subject matter experts, however they only operate at an official’s level and are rarely tuned in to the local political subtleties that exist in all Councils. They also miss the reality that there is usually a lack of information sharing between officials and Councillors in the lead up to a decision. This effectively means that the preliminary work is being carried out in a vacuum, and if Councillors do not agree with the path that is being followed they are most likely to kill the decision.

It is our opinion therefore that it is of paramount importance to get good advice about what is going on within Local Government, and to ensure that there is appropriate political engagement. This could be as simple as having a cup of coffee with Councillors to make them aware, and keep them informed, of where any given proposal is at over the course of its life (updates should occur after Councils have made their decision to build deeper and more meaningful relationships).

Most importantly such engagement provides the opportunity to understand where local sensitivities are and to develop measures that can mitigate them. By adopting such an approach and demonstrating a willingness to adapt to the local environment, it generates a partnership in the enterprise, with the associated benefit of making rejection all the more unlikely.

In summary, we here at ICG believe that sound professional advice combined with decision-maker-to-decision-maker interaction is a critical element in properly engaging with Local Government and achieving the goals you seek in a timely and straightforward manner.

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The Liberal Leadership and The Bligh Factor

By John Kananghinis

The current Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, and the fourth Governor of New South Wales, Vice Admiral William Bligh may be separated in their respective tenures by 207 years but they do seem to share a few ‘leadership’ characteristics.

Bligh (yes, the Bligh of the Bounty and progenitor of former Queensland Premier Anna Bligh) was a true master of his profession, an expert navigator, skilled cartographer and a highly regarded naval Captain who served, with distinction in battle, under Nelson.

He was mentored by the famed Captain James Cook and was Sailing Master of the Resolution on Cook’s ill-fated third voyage.

He seemed to be at his best in adversity. Many underestimated him and he lived to prove them wrong. When cast adrift in an open boat, with his small band of loyalists, by the Bounty mutineers led by his chosen first mate and a man he considered a friend, he completed an unthinkable 6,700km journey across the Pacific to arrive, with the loss of only one man, in Timor.

Years later, when the relatively new colony of New South Wales looked to be getting out of hand it was Bligh, known as a sound administrator and strict but fair disciplinarian, who was sent to clean things up. However, his confrontational style quickly put him offside with the colony’s power elite and then with his own troops. The result was the Rum Rebellion of 1808 that saw Bligh marched out of Government House in Parramatta and returned to England.

Bligh was described by some who knew him as an “enlightened naval officer” who had one or two faults. For example he would make “dogmatic judgements which he felt himself entitled to make; and he saw fools about him too easily … he never learnt that you do not make friends of men by insulting them”.

Do I need to highlight the parallels?

Prime Minister Abbott is no doubt a good and capable man, possessing mastery of the combative art of politics. Yet he seems friendless, unlikeable and now subject to ructions within his own team.

He was mentored by a legend of his party and was a faithful lieutenant to Prime Minister Howard even as the 2007 electoral rout became obvious to all.

Subsequently, when things turned a little pear-shaped, the electorate, somewhat reluctantly, turned to him but they have never loved him. And even if they did, as has been proved for millennia, the mob turns easily and quickly.

When the PM made his February 2 (post QLD electoral disaster) speech to the National Press Club he declared that government is not a popularity contest. In today’s political reality that is just plain wrong. Leaders not well regarded by the people will sooner, rather than later, be dispatched by their own side.

The PM’s Press Club address and subsequent interviews also suggest a lack of true understanding of the language of inclusiveness required to take the people with him.

It is difficult to support the claim of being more “consultative and collegial” when he keeps saying “my government… my plan” and referring to “what I will do for you”. Such paternalistic language perhaps betrays that his true view is that the people should leave it all to him as he knows best.

That may sound harsh, but use of language in leadership positions is very important when dealing with an ever more educated and critical electorate (or business workforce).

The PM’s continuing use of such language may suggest that he, like Bligh, cannot help but stick to his dogma and make the “captain’s calls” he feels he is entitled to make, even if they cost him his closest followers.

Inclusive language such as ‘together we will address the challenges of the future’ or even ‘as Australians together we will …” would certainly start to soften his image.

After all Churchill did not say: ‘I will fight them on the beaches …”.

In the end, even though his enemies underestimate him at their peril, it may all be too late for Tony Abbott. Despite the many good things his government has done, or at least begun to do, he may suffer the same fate as William Bligh on the Bounty and in New South Wales two centuries ago, i.e. cast adrift by those he thought to be friends; a great captain in a fight, highly skilled and intelligent, but lacking in the necessary common touch and flexibility to keep the rank and file by his side for the long term.

It may be that our current Prime Minister is closer in character to Admiral William Bligh than he would care to admit.