Beginning in the 2015-2016 school year, online learning company Knod will be offering a bachelor’s degree in business or business management for less than $13,000 in a partnership with New Charter University. The program is now open for registration.
Knod bridges the gap between universities and employers for a part-online education focused on project-based learning and marketable skills. Students work for real companies on real projects both collaboratively and independently. They build a portfolio as they get a degree, amounting to approximately 2 years of professional experience in addition to their diploma. Lending credence to their approach, a 2012 report found that 72% of education institutions believe that their graduates were fully prepared for the workforce, but only 45% of new hires and 42% of employers agreed.
Learning at Knod begins with an in-person, two-week workshop to help students to learn self-regulation that will be useful for independent work, how to communicate effectively, and leadership skills. Then, with their online classes, students practice and then apply their skills with employers. Group participation is facilitated through technology, and all learning is done outside of traditional classroom environments.
CEO Graham Doxey said:
It’s a solution to the education-to-employment gap. We can provide really good learning outcomes for students stepping into jobs that otherwise would require a few years of experience.
From an employment perspective, it’s clear that the traditional education system is failing to adequately prepare students to enter the workforce. For too long, education has operated in a vacuum. Instead of evolving to better arm students with the skills and knowledge that meet the needs of today’s employers, convention and outdated methods continue to prevail. With Knod, we are connecting employers and students in a meaningful way that will ultimately produce more effective employees.
Here at Knod, we bring together the institutions who grant the degree and the employers who drive the standards for learning outcomes. You’re acquiring not just a degree, but the skills to be a contributor in your community.
So far, 38 Kenyan students have graduated from Knod’s first program in partnership with a Malaysian university. Now that its collaboration with New Charter University is official, it is also looking to expand into England with the University of Darby, and then into several of universities in Spain and Latin America.
Previously, Doxey founded Neumont University in 2003, which sought to bring students workplace computer science skills that they may have missed out on in academia. 97% of its graduates are employed within 6 months of graduation, notes Business Wire. Knod is a similar project.
Knod calls on a variety of advisers to help in its mission of bringing business and education together, including Nick Donofrio, at IBM for 44 years and chairman of the Board of Regents for Connecticut; Michael Horn, co-founder of the Clayton Christensen Institute; and Henry Eyring, co-author of The Innovative University.
The company has also announced a $3.5 million round from Epic Ventures, Impact Investment Leaders, and others, writes Charley Locke of edSurge.