Frankfurt School of Finance & Management gGmbH (GERMANY)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2013 Proceedings
Publication year: 2013
Pages: 1331-1339
ISBN: 978-84-616-3847-5
ISSN: 2340-1095
Conference name: 6th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 18-20 November, 2013
Location: Seville, Spain
Universities and business schools across the world are addressing the topic of inclusion primarily via financial barriers. MOOCs, Coursera and other buzzwords are the hot topic of the day. Participants around the world certainly benefit from lowering financial hurdles. Yet, from our experience, the contribution of MOOCs to increasing skill levels in developing and emerging countries is severely constrained by technological boundaries.

Many prospective students of E-Learning in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Pacific Islands incur substantial challenges. In many countries, internet is only available from satellite connection, expensive and slow. Fiber optic cables are not the norm in Central Africa or in the Pacific Islands. This implies that fancy web based trainings and sophisticated interactive modules will simply “time out”.

Yet it is exactly those prospective students of E-Learning in emerging and developing countries who stand to benefit most –after all the quality of local universities and business schools offering professional trainings may not always be up to international standards. Access to international best practice E-Learning would be a superb way to let the participants catch up.

To address this problem, Frankfurt School developed the highly innovative, technologically highly accessible LinkEd platform to provide affordable part-time training opportunities to international development finance practitioners, eager for education but often hampered by the limited access to it. But how is it possible to combine high quality online education to low technical and infrastructural requirements? The LinkEd strategy is to mix modern and traditional online learning approaches allowing participant with and without high speed internet to follow the courses.

The innovative approach of the LinkEd courses is based on the following pillars:
- Provide education and training opportunities for developing and developed countries
- Provide highly specialized and relevant knowledge on development finance
- Offer affordable and flexible six-month courses
- Constant development and improvement of the e-learning tools
- Offer an international network of partner institutions hosting the final examination, giving the participants the possibility to receive a Frankfurt School Certification

In 2010 the pilot of the first “Certified Expert in Microfinance” was launched in India and became later international. The course would be offered for the fifth time in September 2013. Since its beginning the LinkEd portfolio has been expanding and until today the concept attracted more than 800 participants from more than 100 different countries. In 2012 the “Certified Expert in SME Finance” started and in 2013 the “Certified Expert in Risk Management”. But since that was not enough in March 2014 the Frankfurt School will launch a new course on Climate and Renewable Energy Finance.

Summarizing, what makes LinkEd successful? The fact that we offer an alternative and affordable way of education to participants from all over the world. The fact that we offer the flexibility to learn on side of a full time job. The fact that high qualified trainers and experts develop and support the courses. The key factor of the success is to link all of this to one concept: LinkEd.