Pavel Makovský: Education and Online Education has essentially Unlimited Development
Pavel Makovský has been working in the field of education for more than twenty years. In his free time, he likes to spend time with his family, play golf, and also he is always working on his personal development. He considers the establishment of LIGS University in the USA to be a huge success, as it has students and graduates from 75 different countries and lecturers from 30 countries around the world. He is saying that the need to work on yourself and constantly improve is a key to future success.
You have been working in the field of management and education for more than twenty years. How has this area of education changed during this time?
Twenty years is a long time and both the education and management sphere changed significantly and continue to change. In addition to this, the coronavirus pandemic has significantly affected both of these spheres. However, I am also glad to say that COVID-19 also brought positive aspects to us. These include for example greater use of the online environment and tools (both for education and management). It also forced those companies that did not operate in an online environment or resisted this environment to start using it. The online environment can be used in the sphere of management for example in the form of remote work, home-office, etc. Companies realized that they can easily function in this online régime and now in many instances they prefer it. All this is confirmed by the fact that many companies count on to continue using the home offices in the future. This means, for example, a great opportunity to employ talented employees not only from places where companies have their headquarters and establishments but from all over the world.
In the field of education, we noticed that the demand for online training and programs has grown and continues to grow. The demand for online programs applies to 100% online programs as well as combined programs (online and offline).
While working a full-time job, you completed your studies of andragogy and personnel management at the Faculty of Philosophy, Charles University. What did these studies give you and was it useful for your future career?
At the time when I started to study at the university, I was working at a managerial position in a bank and took my studies as an interesting area to put my focus on. Part of my work at the bank was already to focus on educating colleagues and employees at the branches about the product and sales, and this activity was very fulfilling for me.
Studying at the university alongside my full-time job was very time-consuming and when I look back I am glad that I completed it with the help of my wife. At that time, I had no idea that in my future professional life I will be involved in online education one hundred percent.
I used the experience that I gained at Charles University greatly and I still use it in my current work position and also when I work on other projects. This is especially true in the field of student support, we do our best to avoid all the problems that students that are employed have. These students need a different approach and support, for example in the field of student support and motivation.
What was the initiative for the establishment of LIGS University?
The initiative to establish the LIGS University came from my experience with distance learning at Charles University. The intention was to build a university that will focus on busy adult students working full-time jobs. We wanted to establish an educational facility that will support the students on the mission to get a quality education while working.
We had a vision of a university where the study programs will be, regularly updated and where the lecturers will be not only from the academic environment but mainly from practice-based environments. In short, the main objective is that the results of studies and the acquired knowledge and skills can be used immediately by students in their careers, real-life situations, to build startups and start new projects. I am convinced that the main benefit is the applicability of teachings acquired at our university in real-life practice. This is what sets us apart from other educational institutions.
Your big dream was to build an educational institution for working adult students who want to work on themselves and improve their skills and abilities so that they can combine their work, family, studies, and hobbies with studying. Do you think you succeeded in this?
The results of our students and graduates, and also their testimonies and the recommendations show that we did succeed on this mission very much. And I'm very happy about that.
Some young adults complain that they would like to study and ask their parents to keep supporting them. Many of them tend to extend their student years without making an effort to study properly. They do want to take the opportunity to study while having a job and gaining valuable practical experiences. What advice would you give to such students?
If they would wish for a piece of advice, which I am not convinced that they would look for it because those who want to achieve something are already doing so. I would advise them not to wait for anything and start using all the existing knowledge in real-life practice. Also, I would advise them to keep working on each themselves. Nowadays, unlike the times when I grew up, we are offered an inexhaustible number of opportunities for self-development and self-education. In case someone gets stuck and doesn't work hard on themselves, they will be overtaken by those who choose to do so and very often by those who don't know as much at the beginning but are willing to work hard. It is all about the desire to work on yourself and the willingness to improve. In my opinion, this is a key to the future success of an individual.
The university was established with a vision to become a top educational institution using the latest innovations and making full use of all available technologies. What technologies do you use? Are they available to all of your students?
We use online technologies that allow us to study from all over the world without the need to visit the university in person, which is crucial for adult working students. We use online scientific libraries, video libraries, eBooks and audiobook libraries, systems for passing tests with special student identity verification, systems for communication with lecturers, submission and evaluation of written assignments, webinars, and other systems integrated into the student systém. The students have all the information available in one place, and they do not have to save materials, work, and other information on their computer, but they are always easy to find and ready to use on our LIGS University platform.
Originally you established the LIGS University in the Czech Republic, you are now based in Hawaii, USA. Why did you decide to relocate to Hawaii?
We were established in the Czech Republic as an educational institution, but our ambition was global, so we opted for the USA, where we operate as a university and we are moving towards Federal American Accreditation, which we consider another important milestone in the history of the LIGS University.
Does the attitude of students towards education differ significantly in the world, in the USA, and specifically in the Czech Republic?
Generally speaking, there are significant differences. Students from different countries of the world (at the moment we have students and graduates from seventy-two countries and lecturers from thirty-five countries) are more demanding, they want to learn more, gain more knowledge and work harder than students from the Czech Republic or Slovakia. Czechs and Slovaks often want to take the "path" of least resistance. Of course, this does not apply one hundred percent to all the applicants, but to a large extent, this is the reality. Therefore, we are glad that we are a global educational facility, and students from the Czech Republic and Slovakia have the opportunity, for example, during webinars to get acquainted with a different approach towards studying. They can choose to use the knowledge and skills in their practice. This way they get an opportunity to develop more practical skills and gain better knowledge and improve faster.
We are also glad that after offering our services to the USA market, students from American universities come to us, and shared that they were not satisfied with the study support and service from local colleges. This confirms the correctness of our approach towards our students. The results of their studies applied to practical case scenarios confirm this as well. In today's society opinions started to emerge such as the official education is useless and young people can "google" what they want. As a result of this what happens is that young people without practical experiences or people without formal education take up managerial positions. Is university education needed in your opinion? In recent years, I noticed these views as well, and there is also a nice name for it "t the University of Life". I take these approaches as a search for some sort of shortcut, however, I know from my personal experience that there are no shortcuts in life. The shortcuts don't work in everyday life and they don't work in education either. Either they choose to work on themselves and develop skills or they are looking for easier ways. If they look for easier ways, they usually fail and return to formal education. Some people simply always look for excuses and perceive things as not possible. I am glad that our students mostly want to study and be successful in their studies, as a result, they create a precondition for long-term success. Some students often look for excuses for their failures and subsequently, quit prematurely and do not complete their studies.
I am still from a generation when it was a problem to get quality, up-to-date and relevant information. On the contrary today, there is so much information and resources that it is difficult and time-consuming to find quality and useful data. Therefore, the benefit of LIGS University is that it does not only offers interesting and high-quality information but also brings beneficial content to its students from around the world.
You are the holder of the Manager of the Year award in the field of education and IT. What does this mean to you?
I very much appreciate this award and take it as a recognition of the work of everyone at LIGS University. I see it as a confirmation of the quality we offer and also a contribution of our approach that I mentioned earlier in the field of adult education. With our devoted work, constant innovation, and commitment to delivering more and more value for our students. We want to continue to confirm that we have rightly received this valuable award and we make a good brand name to the award.
How has the coronavirus pandemic affected education in general?
In general, also highly and globally recognized universities have begun to adapt their programs and teaching methods to the online environment. Of course with different results, but they are working on it and in most cases perfecting the process of online education. This is great news for students all around the world. For LIGS University, nothing has changed in this area, because we have online education and online communication in our DNA. What has changed is the increasing interest of students to study online, which brings us new students, and we are very thankful for this.
How do you imagine the future of education?
Education and online education have essentially unlimited development at their disposal. And it's up to us -educational facilities how innovative we choose to be. I see a huge opportunity in engaging virtual reality into education, linked with real-life practice and using experts from around the world, no matter where they live or work. This is a huge advantage and LIGS University has been going in this direction for a long time, and we see that it is an attractive and beneficial approach not only for students but also for lecturers.
I see an opportunity in an area of the building and work with the community of students, graduates, and lecturers. So the community can network, share experiences and valuable information. The power lies in the community of which the student gets to be a part. To sum it all up, I see a huge added value in studying, and nothing can replace this.
Thanks for the interview.
Translated from the original article from server e-news.cz