Online Courses and Lectures in Sri LankaOnline courses and lectures were not very popular in Sri Lanka before 2020. People did not consider the effectiveness of fully online courses before the pandemic. People did not think of holding courses and lectures online before the pandemic spread. But now we are in a time that every course and lecture is online as we have no other choice. It is a new experience for most of the Sri Lankan students as it was not used before. We can see the effectiveness of online courses and lectures as students do not have to stop their studies due to the pandemic. Introducing online lectures and lessons to all the Sri Lankan students changed the way of their usual way of studying within a few weeks. This forced both the students and the teachers or lecturers to find new ways to learn and teach. Adapting to this new system was not easy for everyone, but everyone had to learn to use online platforms for teaching such as zoom, Google meets, Google classroom, etc.
The Effectiveness of online learningThere are both pros and cons of online learning. When we look at the pros we can see how effective online learning is, because all the students can join the lecture or the class from anywhere in the world. Due to that reason most of the students can join the lecture or the class. Also, sick students can join the class without any problem. While learning online many students are starting to refer external information on other sources. That helps them to research the subjects, unlike the time when they are in the classroom with other students. Some students have the habit of getting extra information from other students without doing their research. Online learning change that situation into where they have to research on their own to study and do the assignments on a certain subject. Also, online learning makes students’ life easier. When students have online lectures or classes they do not have to leave their homes. Also if they stay at home their expenses become less and it makes their and their families’ lives much easier. Also, the online courses are considered to take less time to finish the course than the traditional courses. In Sri Lanka students have to spend at least more than five years to finish the degree. Online courses can shorten that period and they can enter the workforce early.
The Disadvantaged of Online CoursesAs mentioned earlier fully online courses have advantages, but they also have disadvantages as well. When students start to study from home they will not get the opportunity to engage with the other students in activities like in the traditional courses. Engaging in activities with other activities while studying helps students improve themselves as human beings who are about to enter the society, but during a fully online course, a student can not engage in such activities which can make the student lonely. He or she studies alone and only focus on studying. That can lead to certain addictions as well. It will be harder for the students to research the subjects without the help of university libraries and laboratories. The resources the university students have right now when they are doing a traditional course such as having
- Library access
- Laboratory access
- Internet access for free
- Access to the gymnasium
With 213 countries beyond international territories being affected by the COVID 19, the WHO named it as a world pandemic on the 11th of March 2020. This global pandemic has created a significant impact on economic, societal, business, and personal facets while also reshaping the people’s day-to-day lifestyle, habits, business operations, and the relationship with the outside world. With the pronounced impact and the distancing policies of COVID 19, people have stepped into the digital world more than ever before. This has lead to accelerating the digital transformation. And it has also given rise to technological trends like virtual working in building a resilient society that would stay even after the pandemic is gone.
The pandemic outbreak brought the lifestyles of people and business operations on-hold creating immense losses. This also made companies look into how to deploy and enable their workforce to move forward. While some businesses struggle to adapt to the changes created, some companies have already implemented changes. And those necessary measures taken will lead them to position themselves properly for this crisis. During the pandemic, we have hit the fast-forwarding button on many technologies that were already in place. Remote / Virtual working referred to the ability to work from anywhere anytime was one such technology that was there even before the COVID 19 but popularized much more within the pandemic period.
Shifting from the need of being physically available for office work to virtual working, companies had to undergo various challenges. Three major difficulties identified are:
- Implementing virtual working especially when it comes to a centralized workforce.
- Ensuring the availability of infrastructure and the security for Virtual working environments.
- Work-life and personal life balance of the employees.
But overcoming those challenges has not just benefited the companies, but also for employees in various ways.
Advantages of Virtual working :
For employees :
- Allowing employees to maintain a better and healthy work-life balance.
- Employees having more autonomy.
- Increased performance and productivity.
- Less commute stress.
- Increase in employee satisfaction and retention.
- Save time and money
- A happy and healthy work-life.
- Promotes employee well-being.
- Can access to a wide pool of applicants.
- Virtual working leads companies to cut down expenses and save.
- Can have a satisfied set of employees with increased productivity.
- Can make better use of technologies.
- Less capital expenditure.
Virtual/remote working is more likely to stay even after the pandemic due to its benefits making it the new normal. Shifting to this new concept where companies can hire employees from different territories will lead to creating more revenue as they can hire the best and the most suitable people required for the tasks. This new normal, where Virtual working is the norm will let businesses optimize their talent pool while also creating more opportunities for potential employees. Companies that were able to embrace these new technologies and concepts will position themselves properly in facing the ongoing crisis. It will also pave the way for these businesses to capitalize on new opportunities in the future.
In an interview held recently, the Member Committee Vice President, Finance and Legal for the term 20.21, Mr. Avishka Gunathilake said that AIESEC Sri Lanka in collaboration with SLASSCOM has come up with a new industry readiness program called LEAD Program targeting the recently graduated Sri Lankan youth. In LEAD Program, the virtual experience will be focused on developing the leadership, professional and corporate skills of the Sri Lankan youth who are waiting to enter the industry which will be required in order to cater the gap between the corporate world and the graduates.
These new trends that showed up with the acceleration of the digital transformation during the pandemic will be strategic factors in creating a resilient post-pandemic society.
Have you ever wondered why almost all job listings in any field require effective communication skills? Effective communication is crucial, as without it organizations will not be able to succeed and may even cease to function. In other words, communication acts as organizational blood.
“The art of communication is the language of leadership” – James Humes
National Showcasing Team of AIESEC in Sri Lanka presented the 6th episode of podcast series, “LeadershipIsAlsoAbout” on “The Importance of Effective communication to achieve Organizational Goals” with Mr. Pasindhu Mendis, the Member Committee Vice President for People Management, AIESEC Sri Lanka 18.19 as the guest speaker and Mr. Disnaka Ranasinghe, the Member Committee Vice President-Elect for Talent Management and Organizational Development, AIESEC Sri Lanka 20.21 as the moderator.
What is leadership?
When the trust account is high,
A leader is someone who takes initiative and trusts the people he works with for them to work efficiently and independently. If you trust your team, you’ll back them up on their journey and take pride in their successes. A leader needs to know about his team members. Why should you take the time to get to know your followers on a more personal level? While you help them to achieve their personal development, they will take on the organizational goals as well.
A leader should maintain a positive attitude towards everything and anything you face during your leadership journey. For example, AIESEC as a non-profit organization, it faces a lot of peaks and valleys. So you should be optimistic and energetic equally in every situation so that your followers take that positive energy from you. A leader should always try to praise his followers without making judgments about them. It gives people the drive and motivation to continue doing the calibre of work you want to see.
A leader is one who shows the way
Leadership definition captures the essentials of being able and prepared to inspire others. There may be a person who inspired you as a child, the kind of person you want to become when you grow up. Some leaders are inspired by real people they have met. They may be members of their own families or teachers or professors with whom they were able to study. It may be someone who hired you or supervised you or the first person who told you they saw your potential. Mr. Pasindhu Mendis gave a different, but insightful answer. “ Every person I met until today inspired me to become a good leader”
What is effective communication?
Communication is one of the major concerns when considering the long-term success of an organization and there are characteristics that you align with effective communication. If you are communicating with somebody, there are few facts to keep in your mind because people that you are talking with perceive what you are talking differently.
Confidence, Clarity & Empathy
Approaching somebody with confidence is an important life skill. Being assertive in conversation with others helps stand up for yourself and your values. Secondly, he talked about the effort to clarify. The clearer your message, the easier it gets for the receiver to decode it according to your original intent. And great leaders have empathy for others. They drop all of the complexity in leadership and talk with his followers going down to their level so that he understand everything what is said and what isn’t said. The next thing he discussed was the importance of being an active listener, especially in one to one communication.
” We never listen when we are eager to speak” – Francois de la Rochefoucauld
An active listener always helps in giving advice, solutions to the people whom he is talking with. If you want to build an effective brand, you’ll need to show a confident personality in your opinions and points. Your Body language is one of the most critical aspects of your brand. People subconsciously use your body language as a roadmap to discover your intention and credibility.
Further, Mr Pasindhu Mendis shared the biggest challenge he had to overcome while establishing an effective communication process so that every member of the organization feel connected to a common goal. Not everyone can behave the same in listening, understanding, and perceiving . As a solution for this, he found that only by having individual conversations with people, a leader can understand them. So Investing your time in people is not a waste.
Communication is your ticket to success
Effective communication is a building block of a successful organization. Mr. Pasindhu Mendis defined the connection exists between effective communication & successful achieving of organizational goals. Effective communication in an organization can have a positive effect on the performance of people by increasing people’s morale, retention rate, and the overall productivity of the working environment. Further, he pointed out the importance of having a properly defined goal and specific measurements to realize a specific goal taking an example related to his personal life.
Effective communication strategies
There are effective communication strategies that can be used to establish a better communication network in an organization while establishing the productivity of the members. There should be a personal development plan for a leader. Having a personal development plan enables him to grow professionally and develop the organization. Know your audience. Customizing how and what you communicate based on your audience is an important part of effective communication. It is your job to understand who needs to know what. Employ multiple channels to transfer messages. A highly effective channel to transfer messages is one-to-one conversations. At the same time, 2-way conversation helps to solve problems better.
Where there’s a collection of criticism
Mr Pasindhu Mendis, as a former Member Committee Vice President for people management of one of the largest youth-run organization of the island, discussed a situation he managed where there were conflicting ideas of criticism. If everyone in your team was exactly like you, things would be a whole lot easier. But something to someone is something else to someone else. So there might always be a collection of criticism when handling a set of people. The key is to consider the criticism rationally not emotionally. Show you are willing to listen, and hopefully, he will do the same. Finally, add your thoughts, and decide if you agree with the criticism. If you need to apologize, do so.
Effective communication serves as a foundation for planning
There must be a proper plan to realize your goal and cross off each one as you work through them. All the essential information must be communicated to the managers who in-turn must communicate the plans to implement them. There are many ways of meeting these goals and communication plays an integral part in doing so. In business and Industry, communication helps to align workers to work with one another and to achieve the objective of the organization, which means objectives, can be in the target, attained and improved. Without organizational communication, nothing can be done.
“Raise this beautiful gift – Voice. Don’t waste it. When you share your story with someone else, they become a part of your journey”
Mr Pasindhu Mendis, one of the great leadership personalities terminated his story revealing his AIESEC journey.
Why do you need more money while studying? I don’t think that I’ll have to explain the reason behind it because isn’t that obvious? More money means living a great life. Doing a job can get you some income to survive or get some extra pocket money without depending on your parents. I remember walking for more than 2 km some days just to save a couple of rupees. I don’t ever take a Tuk-Tuk back then because I feel that it is a waste of money. Times are even harder for other Sri Lankan undergraduates too now because the living expenses are higher than before.
Research has shown that those undergraduates who work while studying tend to understand and grasp their studies much better than those who are not on job. They understand the nature of business and get practical learning about how things are done. For example, if a student is studying telecommunications and works at a call center he will understand each and everything much better. In Sri Lankan Universities part-time jobs are not promoted. However here are some huge benefits of taking a part-time job.
Here’s why you should consider taking on part-time work.
Taking up a part-time job is much better than being unemployed. It’s similar to the saying “Something is better than nothing”. What better reason is there to get a part-time job than earning some extra cash? You feel better when you have cash flow. You no longer have to worry about being able to afford the essentials or relying on your parents or student funding to get by. As a result, you gain independence. You will be less reliant on those around you, and you will learn how to fend for yourself. Furthermore, for a few students, part-time jobs are very helpful, be it for paying the tuition fee, academic fees, or as an extra allowance. And you learn to handle your financials carefully. You tend to become more cautious about how you spend your hard-earned cash.
The main differences between full-time work and part-time work lie in the number of hours spent at work, and the amount of responsibility placed on the employee. So flexibility is another big advantage of part-time jobs. You still have time to attend university and spend a lot of time with friends. Those working less than half a day have the choice to work mornings, afternoons or evenings in establishments with longer hours.
You develop interpersonal skills. As well as confidence, student employment provides you with an opportunity to learn how to interact with different personalities – an essential skill in all types of jobs. Part-time jobs have the potential to lead to great things. If you know how to choose your job well, you’ll be able to improve your skills and expertise in the field that you want. Moreover, a lot of new opportunities will pop up. The following are some part-time jobs in Sri Lanka that students can work while studying in university.
13 money-making ideas for Sri Lankan undergraduates.
You probably have some skills eg. Web designing, editing, copywriting, computer programming, graphic design, or writing skills. Then you can find some freelance gigs or you can use your skills and talents to build a business of your own, as a freelancer. Fiverr and Upwork are massive marketplaces for all types of freelance work.
2. Website designing and developing
Creating websites has never been easier. There are so many platforms like WordPress, Wix, Squarespace that you can use easily to create a website without any technical knowledge. But you should be knowledgeable enough to find potential clients.
3. Starting a blog
If you have a passion that you want to share with the world, a blog can be a great outlet for your work. Once you start writing some great content, you will eventually find ways to monetize your blog.
4. Design work
If you are knowledgeable enough in Photoshop and other print design software you can work on designing various advertising materials.
5. T-shirt Printing
We all need customized t-shirts when we’re in university. You can start a small t-shirt company. You don’t have to have an “actual” company. All you need is to find some t-shirts manufacturers and get their prices.
6. Digital Marketing
If you’re good with your social media, email marketing and maybe a little bit of SEO(Search Engine Optimization) you can become a digital marketer too. Then you can find some local shops and entrepreneurs and provide your services to them.
7. Resume writing services
Most students are supposed to work when they are in their 3rd and final years. So obviously they need CVs to send for companies. You can start a CV writing service for students who are in need. Put out some flyers around the university to find your first client.
If you are good with your camera then you can start your own photography business. Then becoming a photographer is not that difficult. There are so many online magazines that are covering various things around the country. You can even cover events in your university as a beginning.
This is a no-brainer and very common among undergraduates. Start teaching what you’re learning or anything else (like playing the guitar and even chess) to students who are in need. Many popular tuition teachers start their careers while studying at university. Undergraduates do A/L, O/L or even classes for school children.
10. Data Entry Operator
These jobs have easy working hours, sometimes you can do these at your home using your computer.
11. Research Assistant
Gain experience in your field of interest by working as a Research Assistant for one of your lecturers or professors in your department/campus.
12. Restaurant jobs – Waiter staff
You can work in large Hotels and places like MacDonald’s Pizza Hut, KFC. You can earn money and have free meals also. Well, that’s about it. There are so many other ways of making money while studying.
13. Starting a Youtube Channel
With the continued rise of the video blogging culture, it’s completely understandable for any young adult to make money starting a YouTube channel. It’s a fun and interactive hobby with the potential to turn you into a popular online personality. Today it has become the most engaging avenue to earn a pretty impressive income. Aside from that, it helps you meet new people, gets free stuff from companies as well.
These are some of the more popular ones that I think should work for most of the undergraduates. However, students working while studying should not divert from their studies and keep a balance between their studies as well as their job. Once you find the right balance, you’ll reap the benefits of working as a student for years to come.