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Gold-medal win

Gold-medal win

October 2014

HP LIFE e-Learning helps students on route to SkillsUSA gold medal win

(Scroll down below to view a video of a SkillsUSA instructor and her students discuss the importance of the HP LIFE program in their classroom.)

HP is igniting a passion for IT and entrepreneurship in students in community colleges throughout the United States. Through its collaboration with NACCE (National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship), instructors from both rural and urban schools have integrated HP LIFE e-Learning courses into their classes. 

It is part of HP Living Progress—our framework for creating a better future for everyone through our actions and innovations.

Powered by HP technology, HP LIFE e-Learning is a free, online program that provides a forum for high school and community college students to learn essential business and IT skills, putting them into the shoes of an entrepreneur by giving them real life business issues to tackle. Through our work with the Education Development Center Inc. (EDC), HP has designed an interactive e-learning solution.

Darcie Tumey, Instructor of Business Administration at Catawba Valley Community College in North Carolina, credits HP LIFE e-Learning as a key component in her students’ recent victory. The students’ gold-medal-winning submission in the Entrepreneurship category at SkillsUSA’s National Conference, progressed through local and state championships to win.

The competition challenges student teams to develop a business concept and a comprehensive business plan to bring it to market. The team developed a concept and detailed plan for a series of books geared to helping children deal with major life issues—impressing the judges both with the relevance of their product for the market and with their target market research.

Practical applications to business concepts
The North Carolina SkillsUSA team used HP LIFE e-Learning as the primary resource when developing their business plan. “Working with the program over the past year and incorporating it into our curriculum has added a huge amount of value to our courses,” says Darcie. “The HP LIFE e-Learning modules address most current needs. Online scenarios that discuss real life business challenges made the course modules extremely relevant for my students, who were grappling with the realities of starting a business. They helped them to develop practical applications to the business concepts they were studying.”

HP LIFE e-Learning offers 25 interactive courses in seven languages that cover the core business areas of communications, operations, marketing and finance, as well as special topics including effective leadership, energy efficiency and social entrepreneurship.  Students can also take advantage of a wide range of additional features as they progress through the courses, including certification, advice, and access to a global online community.

Darcie aligned the competition’s requirements with a range of complementary HP LIFE e-Learning modules. Each helped the students to better understand key business concepts—such as identifying their business’s unique value proposition; learning how to calculate profit and loss, identifying hidden costs, and more.

“The HP LIFE e-Learning modules were easy to understand and to navigate,” says Angela Berasa, the team member who developed the original business concept. “I love the way they start out by presenting real life scenarios of a business problem and then give you the tools to solve it.”

Range of new skills
HP LIFE e-Learning’s technical modules helped the students learn a range of new skills. They learned how to conduct market research on the Internet, and how to investigate the competition—a huge benefit when developing their market plan. They also learned how to create financial and sales forecasting spreadsheets and to use Survey Monkey as a means to better understand customer needs.

A key element of the competition was the ability to formally present a business concept. HP LIFE e-Learning’s presentation module taught them Microsoft PowerPoint skills that enabled them to create a well-designed presentation targeted to a specific audience.

“No other course I’ve taken has been as hands-on and integrated. I’m so lucky I was able to be a part of the HP LIFE e-Learning experience,” says Angela. “I never thought I’d have access to something like this at my age. It’s like a second start for me. It gave me access to real life information that was relevant, on point; and exactly what I need. I believe it gave us a huge edge in the competition.”

From a teaching perspective, HP LIFE e-Learning is very flexible and can be completely tailored to an instructor’s individual needs. “I was able to integrate HP LIFE e-Learning into the classroom in a number of ways,” says Darcie. “It can serve as the platform for an entire class discussion; it can be introduced in class and then given to students as an assignment to complete at home; or the class can complete courses independently and then the concepts can be discussed in class.

“Each module also stands alone and can be mixed and matched according to individual class needs.  A marketing class may use one course; while an introduction to business course may use several. The value my students received was quite amazing. HP LIFE e-Learning is a great partnership for our college.”

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