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Business Studies: The Importance Of Learning From Real Life Examples

It is the purpose of our educational system to impart on young people the knowledge and training they need to live a productive life in today's society. That begins with reading and writing, the basic concept of numbers and how to add, subtract and manipulate them in other ways, and then branches off into more advanced learning. Depending on the school and the system, students are then gradually exposed to ever more details and complexity in the various fields of academics, those including mathematics, languages and a variety of social and business studies.

Perhaps the greatest challenge in education is demonstrating how learned knowledge applies to the real world. This requires drawing connections between what is learned in school and how that knowledge is used on the job and to solve actual business problems. Even the best teachers often struggle drawing parallels between theoretical study and real life situations. As a result, students become bored or fail to see how what they learn will ever help them get the job they seek, or how it could possibly apply in practice.

The central problem is that there is a large difference between academic learning and learning that applies to the real world. Much depends on an educational system's approach and policies. If the goal simply is to teach the basics of physics, geometry, chemistry, math and other scientific disciplines-regardless whether a student will ever use that knowledge-then most educational systems are fairly effective. It is, however, an inefficient way of preparing young people for life and life's challenges.

For an example of nearly useless theoretical learning, I learned French for seven years, was able to conjugate verbs and apply the proper tenses, and read and understand complex French literature. Yet, since the study was entirely theoretical and I had no practical experience with the language, I later found I was barely able to order breakfast in French, let alone use my knowledge of the language in the real world. In time I lost it entirely and was never able to take advantage from all those years of theoretical study.

Bridging the gap between theoretical knowledge and real world application is especially important in business studies. Unlike math and science where problems are well defined and their solutions known, the world of business is different. Students know that some businesses prosper while others fail, but they rarely know how and why. Studying economics provides the tools and resources required in business, but it does not demonstrate how to use them. Why do some companies succeed and become icons of success when others, who have equal access to well-educated and motivated people, fail? How can one learn from existing examples and thus see how business principles are applied in the real world?

The answer is learning from actual examples. There are numerous companies out there who have, for one reason or another, either failed or succeeded. Examining their backgrounds, their actions, the decision-making process, and the ways in which they reacted to changing environments will provide a level of understanding that is not possible to achieve with mere academic learning. Knowing how it all fits together in the real world comes in handy whether it's preparing for the GCSE, applying for a job, or succeeding in a real life job. How and where do you learn about real world business? An excellent way is to examine "case studies," which are detailed analyses of businesses, their challenges, and how they did or did not solve them.

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