The University of Vermont Maple Business initiative faces the unique dilemma of offering business education to a growing national audience. In 2018 a Northeastern Extension Risk Management Education grant was awarded to develop a series of self-guided online business tools to expand program access. The business modules addressed production, cost management, pricing and planning to improve risk management decisions. The project also tried different educational approaches to catalyze participant’s adoption of business best-practices.
Results have been mixed. Online decision tools and resources achieved a large increase in the number of targeted beneficiaries reached. This efficient mode of educational content distribution, however, comes with the tradeoff of a less developed teaching and training relationship. Online evaluation completion rates remain low and the quality of business analysis tasks completed, as observed from the website administrator portal, is often less than satisfactory. Formal workshop and short course programming strategies demonstrate better outcomes for participant learning but to a smaller audience. The utilization of structured assignments within a formal curriculum improves the targeting of specific educational objectives and matches evaluations plans to verifiable targets. Assignments must be developed for both active and prospective business owners.
This presentation will provide an overview of learning targets and actual outcomes verified during the original NERME grant period. A description of challenges, limitations and opportunities of online learning content will be presented. The presentation will close with a description of new online curriculum formats that integrate with existing web-based decision tools created from the original grant.
|Conference||2021 Extension Risk Management Education National Conference|
|Presentation Type||30-Minute Concurrent|