Philippine school retails online learning

CAL Philippines provides Web-based education via prepaid value cards, where students pay to access courses based on number of days.
Written by Joel D. Pinaroc, Contributor

PHILIPPINES--A local IT school has introduced a novel way of providing online education, offering its courses via a prepaid, retail scheme.

CAL Philippines, an affiliate of Informatics Singapore, said online technologies have been "revolutionizing education and training for the past years".

"Industry analysts estimate that Web-based training is the fastest growing segment within the U.S. training industry, displacing other traditional training methods such as instructor-led and text-based learning," said Grisel Garcia, marketing and PR officer of CAL, in an e-mail interview with ZDNet Asia.

In the Philippines, she noted, e-learning is emerging as an "alternative mode of training".

"In situations and locations where traditional classroom becomes prohibitive or limited, e-learning can be adopted as a strategy for training," Garcia said.

Pointing to CAL's e-learning scheme, she added: "[It's] more economical than regular instructor-led programs. Expenses related to classroom-based learning for the company, such as travel and housing cost, are greatly reduced."

Retail learning scheme
The Philippine school now offers prepaid cards that correspond to a specific number of days students can access the course of their choice.

A student can immediately enroll after purchasing a prepaid card available in denominations of 300 pesos (US$6.4), 500 pesos (US$10.6) and 2,500 pesos (US$53), to access the courses online for 15 days, 30 days and six months, respectively, Garcia said.

CAL currently offers some 1,000 online courses licensed from U.S.-based online learning provider MindLeaders, which programs are used by companies and universities in the United States for their own online learning initiatives. These include California Tech, Virginia Tech, Princeton, and the University of Texas.

In the Philippines, CAL offers customized e-learning programs that are targeted at corporations, government offices, schools and individuals, Garcia said. "We are also looking at a potentially huge OFWs (overseas fFilipino workers) market," she said.

Upon finishing the course and passing at least 70 percent of the assessments exams, students can download and print an official certificate of completion, she added.

Joel D. Pinaroc is a freelance IT writer based in the Philippines.

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