If you’re a student, you probably find it a pain to have to sign off Facebook — or even just close your browser window — because you have to go and study for an exam. What if you could study for your MBA without even leaving Facebook? That’s the tempting offer from an outfit called the London School of Business and Finance, a private degree-granting institution in England that has launched a free-to-study MBA program as a Facebook application. You have to pay to take the exam at the end in order to get the actual degree, but the studying itself is free of charge.
The school’s introductory video (which is embedded below) notes that most traditional MBA programs cost tens of thousands of dollars just to enroll, but the LSBF says its Facebook app offers the chance to try out the content of its program without having to pay anything. The application features video lectures, interactive case studies — including videos of a “panel of business experts” doing an analysis of the suggested courses of action from the case study — and an online discussion forum where students can debate the various topics discussed. The app also has a “briefcase” section where users can store notes and videos.
Before you get your hopes up about doing a quick MBA in between playing Facebook games, however, we should note that the LSBF program is effectively a teaser for the school’s existing online MBA program and other traditional degree courses (which are accredited through a partnership between the school and the University of Wales). In order to complete the MBA and get certified, students have to sign up for one of the school’s regular online courses (which require a Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts, or five years of work experience), and pay the regular fees — which can cost as much as $20,000 for the school’s full online MBA program — or pay a fee to take an exam related to a specific course within the MBA program.
So are Facebook apps the future of online education? In a sense, all the London school is really doing is taking the traditional correspondence course and moving it into the world of Facebook, which raises some interesting possibilities. We probably wouldn’t want doctors to get certified via a Facebook app, but there are plenty of other disciplines that could probably make the leap quite easily, such as legal or accounting-related degrees. Maybe someone will come up with a game that uses FarmVille or Mafia Wars-style rewards to convince students to study. Let’s just hope no one adds features like “poke your professor.”
Here’s a video introduction to the LSBF app:
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