Kevin Kelly over at Cool Tools points to a free PDF version of a pay for text that guides people through an equivalent curriculum to a Masters in Business Admin. In describing the benefits of this guided self learning he points out that an MBA could set you back 10’s even 100’s of thousands of dollars, while purchasing the printed texts might only set you back $500. What the text doesn’t give you, as Kevin acknowledges, is a network of friends or business contacts at the end of your course. Ah! Enter a networked learning model to support this text perhaps. A way for people who are using this text to make contact and communicate about their efforts. Clearly the information doesn’t change all that much, but the packaging (and the fees) change considerably. Is this the niche that traditional education ought to be looking at more closely? I think so. A beautifully packaged and engaging text, that prints on demand through a service like Lulu, and so can be always up to date with the latest information. Supported by an online learning community with value added services on offer. Such as formal recognition of learning if it is needed.

Would it work for many other subjects? I think it might. Right now I’m building a deck. I’d like to know how to do it right, but I don’t intend to enrol in a course to learn how to build it either. So I search the net and talk to friends and industry people. I get little bits of info, but not the hole shebang you know.. Not surprisingly, Internet info specific to NZ requirements is hard to find in the popular servers.. seems you gotta be in the know before you can get to know. Show me a handy, all-I-need-to-know text, supported with online video, all relevant to NZ requirements and materials and available accross any number of popular servers (like they’re starting to do with promotion widgets and distributed promo for movies these days) I couldn’t help but find it! Once found, I would still pay about $100 for the package in my hand too – to save me having to download, print, bind, package it etc.

Now, it just so happens that I have rather enjoyed the landscaping, planning, building and talking with council process. I think I’d like to know more about all this and maybe consider helping a friend or two, or even going into business… what was that web address for that book again? Oh! there it is on the cover… hey! They offer a recognition of prior learning for the formal qualifications they also offer! And short evening classes for anything I might be a bit weak on! That sounds much better than a 3 year full time study plan. I just want to dabble in it for now and maybe build up to something…

Update: Will Richardson went further with Personal MBA (see first comment) to find their website: