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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Introduction to Key Skills in Online Business Studies

With the high number of adults returning to education in order to make themselves more employable in today's competitive jobs market, business studies has been one of the subjects studied in the UK that has seen the biggest growth. Skills such as project management, marketing and business planning are typically available to specialize in on such courses - and their importance to potential employers continues to increase. Yet, there are a number of key skills associated with business studies online too.

The UK's Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) is responsible for publishing guidelines on what should be learned on the country's university degrees - in order to ensure that certain standards are met by all institutions. When it comes to General Business and Management, "Graduates are expected to be able to demonstrate a range of cognitive and intellectual skills together with techniques specific to business and management. They should also demonstrate relevant personal and interpersonal skills."

Communication skills development is therefore key to online business studies. This will typically be studied in its varying forms, including written and oral communication, and will also focus on the different ways communication should be undertaken internally, i.e. to other colleagues and workers, and externally to clients and customers. Notions of company and individual voice are prevalent in this area, as well as growing types of media such as social networking and other uses of the internet for communication.

Following this, there are some basic skills that will likely be learned in reference to the general workings of the business, including researching, processing and using data. Consequently, the study of basic numerical methods to calculate averages and measurements will likely be studied, as well as methods for analysis of data via graphs and tables. It is a key skill to not only be able to gather data efficiently, but also to make sense of it and to use it to inform the future of your work.

Unsurprisingly, the presentation of data is also a key skill in business. This includes static presentation via documents (text, pictures, diagrams and graphs), as well as basic presentation skills in terms of preparation, planning and delivery - as well as the use of visual aids including slides, video and programs such as PowerPoint.

Business studies online is a fantastic way to learn the above key skills and more in a flexible, accessible and affordable way.

Sarah Maple writes for Kaplan Open Learning UK about financial services and business studies online.

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