Opportunities for Networking
Networking is a critical ability for professionals in every field, as it enables them to uncover business or career possibilities, get access to fresh information and ideas, and predict industry trends. It is critical for professionals operating on a global scale to have a worldwide network that represents a range of origins and opinions.
Due to the fact that online courses are not geographically restricted, the variety of these learning communities is often greater than that of on-campus programmes, where overseas students account for fewer than 5% of overall enrolment in the United States.
While online courses are not typical networking environments, the diversity of the learning community—when combined with interactive elements such as discussion board posts, group assignments, and peer-to-peer messaging—provides an opportunity to connect with professionals from all over the world who are interested in similar topics.
Outside of the course experience, relationship-building may continue. After a course has completed, online learner communities offer a forum for networking. These communities’ connections may subsequently be used to aid in corporate decision-making and professional progression, positioning people to emerge as leaders within their firms or the larger global sector.
It Widens Horizons
Online communities’ variety and involvement also enable learners to extend their personal and professional views. The same interactive components that foster networking ties also expose learners to the rich diversity of perspectives that occurs naturally when persons from very varied geographic, educational, socioeconomic, and industrial backgrounds meet.
While variations in viewpoint may first seem unsettling, they are very beneficial. They expose people to novel ideas and alternative methods of approaching challenges. According to the World Economic Forum, expanding viewpoints benefits business executives by “activating networks in our brains involved with creative thinking and exploration.” The wide perspective gained via exposure to varied settings is critical for practising inclusive leadership, making sound business choices, and seeing new chances for people to advance into leadership roles.
It Contributes to the Growth of Cultural Competence
A third significant advantage of online education is the development of cultural competency, or the capacity to “speak and connect with individuals from diverse cultural backgrounds.” This involves an appreciation for and tolerance for cultural differences and the resulting shifts in viewpoint, as well as the ability to manage linguistic and cultural hurdles to communication and cooperation.
Cultural competency has long been a critical ability for global professionals. Yet it is especially pertinent at a time when workforce globalisation is accelerating as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic-induced shift to remote employment. Professionals are more likely than ever to engage digitally with team members located around the globe, and will be expected to develop good cross-cultural communication and collaboration skills.
Cultural competency may be gained by engagement with various populations, according to research. In online education, interactive course elements place learners in situations where they must communicate and collaborate with peers from diverse backgrounds, fostering an environment in which cultural competence develops organically through exposure and subsequent problem-solving and relationship-building. Cultural competency eventually contributes to the development of global leadership by enhancing an individual’s self-awareness, curiosity, empathy, and communication skills.
A BRAND-NEW VIEW OF ONLINE EDUCATION
One of the common fallacies regarding online education is that it cannot match the quality of in-person education. This argument is based on a deficit perspective, which overlooks the apparent advantages of online education, such as flexibility and cost. Beyond this perspective, the range and engagement of online courses such as those provided by HBS Online give a useful experience, all the more so as globalisation and digital change continue to accelerate.
The need for leaders with the ability to build relationships, discover opportunities, and collaborate across cultures will continue to grow. Diverse and engaging online education is ideally positioned to contribute significantly to the global workforce’s preparation to fulfil this requirement.