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Monday, 14 March 2016

Top student-friendly events for 2016

With the cost of tuition fees, textbooks and accommodation, life as a student in the UK can certainly be prohibitive. And if you’re looking to let off a little steam after a day at university, the options can often seem out of most of our budgets.

Thankfully, there are certain institutions and businesses who are more than willing to give you a helping hand in getting out and about. So from discounts on sporting events, to cinema attractions that can entertain and even provide you with some fun betting options, here are some ways to enjoy yourself in 2016 without breaking the bank.

There are plenty of online resources such as StudentGems, StudentBeans and UNiDAYS who can highlight which UK shops provide a discount for students so that you can enjoy a little retail therapy. In addition to this, escaping the confines of the halls of residence can be made a lot cheaper thanks to a 12% discount on a 16-26 railcard and 25% off National Express coach tickets.

We all know that a lot of sporting events can be prohibitively expensive. But if you’re looking to attend a top-level football match, be aware that many clubs such as Nottingham Forest offer a free student membership scheme so that you can gain access to the ground on a much more student-friendly concession rate.

Thanks to the ever-reliable NUS, you can get 25% off cinema tickets at Odeon cinemas across the UK between Mondays and Thursdays. This can be a good way of killing time in the summer months where many of the big blockbusters comes to our cinema screens. And now you can even take bets on which movies will be the biggest hits of the year, so see for more details on some great tips for the world of cinema, sports and beyond.

Many other entertainments offer some tempting student discounts too. Although the majority of big music venues will often scoff at the thought of a special student rate, certain more forward-thinking venues such as the legendary Parish rock club in Huddersfield have introduced their own student discount card. This not only gives you money off selected shows, but you can also get a discount on food and drink at the venue too.

So whether you’re adding some excitement to your cinema discount by having a bet, or just checking out the best cutting-edge sounds at your local music venue, with a bit of research we can all enjoy some great discounts that make life as a student a little easier.

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Studying abroad can give you the edge in today's competitive jobs market

A university or college degree is a must-have qualification in order to stand any chance of jumping onto even the first rung of a meaningful career ladder in the UK. But in the economically straitened and fiercely competitive times we all find ourselves in, when even degrees from the best business schools of the UK barely cut it with some of today's ultra-choosy employers, what can give you an edge in the jobs market?

In other words, what can make you stand out from the crowd? A high GPA, a polished CV, smart and tidy appearance, and the ability to sell yourself without sounding overbearing? Yes, to all of that, except that'll likely be taken as read by most prospective employers, particularly if the interview process has more than just the one stage.

International Experience

According to the Institute The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) in the UK, globalization is changing the way the whole world works. So, more and more employers are looking for people who have international skills and experience. And there you have it, in a nutshell. There's how you stand out. Be one of the less than 10% of the 1.1 million British students graduating with associates or baccalaureate degrees each year that have actually studied abroad.

QAA Chief Executive Douglas Blackstock said, “International experience is one of the most important components of a 21st century education, and study abroad should be viewed as an essential element of a college degree. Learning how to study and work with people from other countries and cultures also prepares future leaders to contribute to making the world a less danger place.”

But the QAA plans to change all of that over the next four or five years through their Generation Study Abroad campaign launched earlier this year. And as well as putting millions of pounds into the project, the QAA has already made contact with hundreds of educators and educational bodies both at home and across the world in a bid to double the number of British studying abroad by the end of the decade. But it's a huge challenge.

Fastest growing region

Latest data from the QAA's 2014 Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange shows a total of 289,408 British students studied abroad for academic credit from their UK colleges and universities during the 2013/2014 academic year. In the 1989/90 academic year, for example, the figure was a mere 71,000. So a fair amount of progress has been made over the last quarter century.

Meanwhile, the number of overseas students choosing to study undergraduate and graduate courses in the UK continued to soar, increasing nationally by 8% in 2013/14 to a record high of 886,052 students. The fastest growing region proved to be the Middle East and North Africa, with an increase of 20% in student numbers enrolled in UK higher education. There was also an 8% increase in students from Ireland and the Scotland, and a similar percentage rise in the number of Asian students, driven by a 17% jump in Chinese students. In terms of individual countries, the fastest growing student populations in the UK in 2013/14 were from Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Brazil.

So, if the above mentioned all makes sense then don’t wait. Differentiate yourself among the others. Let your essays, assignments be drafted by someone who is expert and has been through this process. Just go to and see how it makes your work different form the others. 

Monday, 7 March 2016

What do I do if I have an accident while backpacking?

Every year thousands of young (and not so young) people set off on far-flung travel adventures toting only a backpack and a passport, hoping to return with a collection of travellers’ tales and anecdotes of adventure. And while it’s an incredible experience travelling to another country and exploring another culture, it still carries risks.

Every year a significant number of backpackers come back from their travels – sometimes before they’d planned to – with a broken bone, sunstroke or food poisoning instead of just the usual souvenir t-shirts and interesting batik scarves.

Research carried out in 2015 revealed that 4.4 million Brits had been injured on holiday in the previous 3 years.

Planning ahead can reduce the likelihood of an accident. Knowing what to do if you or someone you’re travelling with is ill or injured can be a lifesaver.
If you or someone you are travelling with is hurt in an accident, you should seek medical assistance before you do anything else.

Contact the local emergency services. If this is not possible, go to a hospital or other medical centre to get yourself checked out. There may be reciprocal agreements in place between the country you are visiting and the UK enabling you to receive treatment without paying. It would be worth checking out the locations of hospitals and health facilities before you go, so if something were to happen, you know where you need to get to.

1. Contact your insurance provider
You should inform your travel insurer about what has happened as soon as possible. Often the small print includes an obligation to notify the insurer of the accident with minimal delay. Some insurers stipulate that you must notify them within 24 hours. Failure to do so can disqualify you from making a claim on your insurance. 

2. Contact friends or family
You may feel that you don’t want to worry your friends or family unduly. However you may need assistance and putting others on notice will help them help you if you need it.

3. Contact the British Embassy
Depending on the severity of the injury, you may wish to establish contact with the relevant British Embassy. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office are able to contact your insurer and family if you are unable to do so. They can even help with repatriation flights if necessary. The government maintains a list of country specific travel advice that includes contact details for all Foreign and Commonwealth Offices.

4. Get copies of everything
This is very important if you are to have any chance of seeking compensation.
At the hospital, get copies of all documents, receipts etc. It’s particularly important to get a copy of the report from the doctor or other medical practitioner, confirming what has happened and the nature of your injury. Get a copy of the hospital admission report if you are admitted. 

Getting compensation
If you are injured as a result of somebody else’s negligence or recklessness, most countries have a legal system that will allow you to seek financial compensation. You may have incurred significant medical and other expenses as a result of the accident. You may even need ongoing care or medication. Compensation is typically awarded to help injured people to recover and pay for any ongoing treatment.

In the UK, an injured person can usually initiate a compensation claim up to 3 years after the date of discovery of the injury. Many other countries operate on a different basis. For example if you have an accident in Malaysia you can claim up to 6 years after the accident, where in China you would only have 1 year.
This handy injury claim time calculator can calculate time limitation dates in different countries.
Whichever country the accident occurs in, the process of seeking compensation will be broadly the same. It will be necessary to demonstrate that:
  • Another party was negligent in some way,
  • That an injury was sustained and;
  • That the injury was as a result of the other party’s negligence.
It is therefore critical that, if you can, you collate as much evidence of the accident as possible.
Examples of supporting include evidence photographs of the accident scene or cause of the accident, police reports and photocopies of accident books. These will greatly assist your case.
You should also keep all bills and receipts for costs you incur as a result of the accident as these will be reclaimable as part of the claim.

Friday, 26 February 2016

The advantages of blended learning

The teaching landscape is rapidly changing, the technological rise of the 21st century and widespread integration of those technologies into our society, combined with access to the internet has integrally changed teaching in just a few years.

Our children, and their following generations are already and will continue to grow up in a world that’s a stark reminder of how rapidly the human civilisation has changed, a society and world where Smartphones and Tablets are widespread, affordable, and replacing most computers and laptops.

The rapidly changing landscapes should be a marker to show that teaching methods need to evolve to keep up with the times and incorporate integrated technologies into the learning modal, these technologies aren’t going to go away, they’ll continue to be integrated into our society and it’s time to embrace them for the advantages they bring.

What is blended Learning?

Blended Learning, also known as Hybrid learning is a mixture of learning methods which incorporate multiple teaching modals, the most common modals incorporated are e-Learning and traditional face-to-face learning. Blended learning is a natural development to the growing accessibility of e-learning, online resources and the continued need for a human component in the learning experience.

A blended learning approach ensures that the learner is engaged and driving his or her individual learning experience. This approach also helps cater to the individual needs of the learner, most students have unique learning styles and a blended approach is more likely to cater to those needs than a traditional classroom teaching experience.

Blended Learning Models:

Due to its modular design, blended learning can come in numerous shapes and sizes and be personalised to fit the individual. These types of modals can include:

  • Online – Instruction occurs via an online platform, with periodic face-to-face meetings.
  • Rotation: Student rotates between self-paced online learning and face-to-face instruction. Schedules are fixed but flexible.
  • Flex: Most instruction is delivered online, with teachers providing as needed support in small-group settings.
  • Personalised blend: Teacher designs face-to-face and anywhere, anytime learning options that straddle the physical classroom and virtual spaces. Learning is the constant and time is the variable. 
  • Online lab: Instructions takes place in a brick and mortar lab. Delivered by an online teacher and supervised onsite by paraprofessionals. 
  • Self-blend: Students take online courses to supplement their tradition schools face to face course catalogue.
  • Face-to-face: Teacher offers primarily face-to-face instruction, supplemented with technology in the classroom or computer lab.

Why is blended learning important?

Blended learning is important because it breaks down the traditional walls of teaching, ones that don’t work for all students and now with access to present day technologies and resources we can tailor the learning experience for each student.

Blended learning also offers flexible time frames that can be personalised to each person, offering them the ability to learn at their own pace.

Advantages of blended learning:

  • Teaching is less expensive to deliver, more affordable and saves time.
  • Blended learning offers flexibility in terms of availability – Anytime, anywhere. In other words, E-learning enables the student to access the materials from anywhere at any time.
  • Access to global resources and materials that meet the students’ level of
  • knowledge and interest.
  • Self-pacing for slow or quick learners reduces stress, increases
  • satisfaction and information retention.
  • E-learning allows more affective interactions between the learners and their
  • instructors through the use of emails, discussion boards and chat room.
  • Students have the ability to track their progress.
  • Students can also learn through a variety of activities that apply to many 
  • different learning styles.
  • E-learning could improve the quality of teaching and learning as it 
  • supports the face-to-face teaching approaches.

Advantages of blended learning on students: 

  • Increase student interest: when technology is integrated into school lessons, learners are more likely to be interested in, focused on, and excited about the subjects they are studying. Subjects that might be monotonous for some – like math and science, while also increasing information retention. 
  • Keep students focused for longer: The use of computers to look up information & data is a tremendous lifesaver, combined with access to resources such as the internet to conduct research. This engagement and interaction with the resources keeps students focused for longer periods then they would be with books or paper resources, this engagement also helps develop learning through exploration and research.
  • Provides student autonomy:  The use of E-learning materials increases a student’s ability to set appropriate learning goals and take charge of his or her own learning, which develops an ability that will be translatable across all subjects.
  • Instil a disposition of self-advocacy:  Students become self-driven and responsible, tracking their individual achievements, which helps develop the ability to find the resources or get the help they need, self-advocating so they can reach their goals.
  • Promote student ownership: Blended learning instils a sense of ‘student ownership over learning’ which can be a powerful force propelling the learning, It’s this feeling of responsibility that helps the feeling of ownership.
  • Allow instant diagnostic information and student feedback: The ability to rapidly analyse, review and give feedback to a students work, gives the teacher the ability to tailor his teaching methods and feedback for each student, while improving time efficiency. 
  • Enables students to learn at their own pace: Due to the flexibility of blended learning and the ability to access internet resources allows students to learn at their own pace, meaning a teacher can help speed up the learning process or give more advanced resources if necessary. 
  • Prepares students for the future: Blended learning offers a multitude of real-world skills, that directly translate into life skills, from:
  • Research skills
  • Self-learning
  • Self-engagement
  • Helps to develop a ‘self-driving force’  
  • Better decision making
  • Offers a larger sense of responsibility
  • Computer literacy 

Advantages of blended learning for teachers

The advantages don’t just stop for the students; blended learning also improves various things for a teacher:

  • Better engaged students
  • Better information and feedback on work
  • Team teaching
  • Extended time with students
  • More leadership roles
  • Focus on deeper learning
  • Motivate hard to reach kids
  • New options to teach at home
  • More earning power
  • Individualised professional development plans

Improved Teaching Conditions 

  • Blended learning tears down the traditional bricks and mortar approach to teaching, which can improve conditions such as:
  • Reduced Isolation
  • More opportunities for collaboration
  • Meaningful professional development 
  • Better student data
  • Improved Time efficiency 
  • Role-differentiation

Stats: - (

  • The global eLearning Market is expected to reach £74 billion by 2015.
  • The global self-paced eLearning market reached £22.3 billion in revenue in 2010. 
  • Top 10 Growth Rates By Country:

  1. India: 55%
  2. China: 52%
  3. Malaysia: 41%
  4. Romania: 38%
  5. Poland: 28%
  6. Czech Republic: 27%
  7. Brazil: 26%
  8. Indonesia: 25%
  9. Colombia: 20%
  10. Ukraine: 20%

  • The worldwide market for Mobile Learning products and services reached £3.6 billion in 2012.
  • The online corporate market is expected to grow by 13% per year up to 2017. Today, 77% of USA companies offer online corporate training to improve the professional development of their employees.
  • The learning technologies used for 2014

  1. 74% of companies currently use Learning management systems (LMS) and Virtual classroom/ webcasting/ video broadcasting
  2. 48% of companies currently use Rapid eLearning Tool (ppt conversion tool)
  3. 33% of companies currently use Application simulation tool
  4. 25% of companies currently use Learning Content Management System
  5. 21% of companies currently use Online performance support or knowledge management system
  6. 18% of companies currently use Mobile Applications
  7. 11% of companies currently use Podcasting.


All students no matter their age learn differently and teaching methods should reflect this, by designing teaching programmes in a way that reaches visual, auditory and kinetic learners alike.

With the heavy integration of technologies we’ll be able to improve teaching, information retention, engagement, responsibility and enjoyment.  Students never outgrow their learning styles, meaning blended learning is more important than ever, no matter what the industry is, from schools to corporations, in all walks of life.

Author Bio:
This article was written by April Giarla: a management development firm that delivers top 500 global companies engaging customized learning solutions. Visit StratX at 

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

How easy is it to get a graduate job?

Here’s a succinct infographic with great advice for graduates searching in 2016 from The Knowledge Academy: