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University of Texas at Austin offers virtual "Learn by Doing" courses

The University of Texas at Austin will soon offer an innovative approach to online learning. The school's new program, "Learn by Doing: Experience Based Learning" will give students the opportunity to participate in realistic business scenarios and gain real-world experience. The courses will be offered through the school's Professional Development Center.

"UT PDC's Learn by Doing gives professionals a hands-on learning experience that they can turn around and use immediately in their current positions, said Liliya Spinazzola, director of the Professional Development Center, in a press release. "Virtual training and collaboration with instructors and professionals from around the country provides students with a real-world learning environment that can help them succeed in their current careers or branch off into new ones," she said.

Unlike traditional online programs, the lessons offered through the new program will focus on providing an interactive experience for students. Once students get started, they'll be immersed in real-world scenarios where they'll tackle realistic business problems and propose feasible solutions to solve them. For instance, during the course "Financial Analysis Essentials," students will be asked to play the role of a financial analyst at a consulting firm. As they learn new business skills, they'll help a struggling winery analyze its financial situation and identify potential weaknesses and underlying issues. Working as part of a team, students will take an in-depth look at the problems that businesses face as they examine the struggling winery's plight and determine what can be done to address the situation.

But, the role-playing doesn't stop there. Students will take things a step further in "Financial Strategy Essentials." During this course, students are asked to summarize what they learned during "Financial Analysis Essentials" in order to propose long-term solutions for the imaginary winery in distress. Students will also learn to prepare financial forecasts for the struggling business and present a presentation of proposed business strategies to the winery's "owner."

The new courses, which launch this month, provide students with the opportunity to learn a wide range of skills that are currently in-demand in today's business world. A total of ten courses are available through the program, covering a whole host of topics including data analytics, e-commerce, project management, search engine optimization, and web application.


Sources:
"Experiential Learning from The University of Texas at Austin Encourages Professionals to Learn-by-Doing," prnewswire.com, October 1, 2013
"Professional Development Center - Learn by Doing," pdclearnbydoing.com, 2013
"U Texas at Austin Adds Online Hands-On Learning," campustechnology.com, October 1, 2013, Dian Schaffhauser