Khan Academy – A Resource for MBA Students, Alumni and Faculty

khan-logo-vertical-transparentKhan Academy, a provider of free, online-education services, is very valuable for MBA students wanting to enhance their perquisite or business-foundation skills, MBA students and alumni who want to supplement or refresh their MBA knowledge base, or MBA faculty wanting to supplement existing courses. A sampling of course categories offered to Khan Academy subscribers (students) include Algebra, Calculus, Probability and Statistics, Microeconomics, Macroeconomics, Finance and Capital Markets, and Entrepreneurship. All lessons are self-paced and generally take ten minutes or less to complete. In the following sections, I explain why I think Khan Academy is a great resource for MBA students, alumni and faculty members.

About Khan Academy

Kahn Academy’s mission is “to provide a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere.” Khan Academy uses a learning model conceived by its founder Sal Khan while he was remotely tutoring his cousin online. Founded in 2008, Khan Academy’s website now delivers more than 300,000,000 lessons per month to more than 8,000,000 individual users. Subscribers learn by watching instructional videos (4,800 plus) and working practice problems (100,000 plus). The free, online educational materials (e.g., practice exercises, instructional videos, dashboard analytics and tools for teachers) provide personalized education for users of all ages in a scalable way.

Khan Academy’s Appeal to MBA Students, Alumni and Faculty

Khan Academy is a learning resource that MBA students, alumni and faculty can adapt to fit their specific needs and circumstances. Moreover, given the wide range of courses and support tools for students and coaches, Khan Academy can meet evolving needs, as well.

For MBA students and alumni, some of the appealing qualities of Khan Academy include:

  1. Lesson Duration – All video lessons are brief with many requiring less than 10 minutes for completion. This means subscribers do not need large blocks of time to complete a lesson.
  2. Self-paced – Individual users work on their own and at a pace that is convenient for them. Progress is not dependent on someone else.
  3. Unlimited Viewing – Lesson videos are available for replay as often as users want to use them. Accordingly, videos can be a starting point for new knowledge or a return point for refresher knowledge.
  4. Practice and Mastery – Student feedback is on two levels—practice and mastery. Exercises start by assuming students need practice. To achieve the “Practiced” classification, students must answer five questions in a row. On the other hand, mastery means a student can answer questions in a context-switching mode to prove they learned the concept – regardless of the context. Mastery also means a student is ready for follow-on lessons.

For MBA faculty, additional qualities include:

  1. Curriculum Integration – Faculty members can easily integrate Khan Academy courses and lessons into an existing curriculum or course. For example, assume an MBA faculty member designs a course in which he or she assumes students have a working knowledge of the time value of money. The faculty member can use Khan Academy to validate knowledge, provide students with a resource to refresh their knowledge or provide students a resource to develop their working knowledge for the first time.
  2. Feedback – Tools are available for monitoring progress in terms of identifying struggling students, time spent on lessons and the number of skills practiced and mastered. Thus, faculty members will know how prepared their students are when they enter the classroom.

For MBA students, alumni and faculty who are parents:

For MBA students and alumni with school-age children, there is another potential benefit. In previous MyeEMBA articles, I wrote about how starting an MBA program affects work-life balance in the short-term and how MBA students with children can share homework time. One certainty of starting an MBA program is that there will be less time for family, especially school-age children. Khan Academy’s coaching program provides another way for busy parents to share and monitor what their children are learning and to stay involved. As an enrolled parent-coach for your child/children, you can review data reports, have routine check-ins, encourage and support your children, learn with them and advocate for them.

Example Courses

The following example lessons provide a sampling of the Khan Academy experience:

In addition to Khan Academy, another resource for on-demand, online training for MBA students is Lynda.com, which I wrote about in another MyeEMBA article. The major differences between the two sites are Lynda.com charges a fee for courses and most of the courses offered focus on technology skill development and training.

Do you have experience with Kham Academy or any other online resource that you can recommend to other MyeEMBA readers? If so, please share your experience by adding a comment below.

About the Author: Dr. Rodney Alsup is the creator of the MyeEMBA blog. His goal is to help MBA students live and work smarter while they earn their MBA.

Image courtesy of Kahn Academy

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